NFL Airs Net-Only Game To Test TV Platform

The NFL will air an Internet-only national regular-season game next year as a way to test the new TV-video platform.

On October 25, a Week 7 game between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars -- which will play in London -- will air at 9:30 a.m. ET. The NFL says the effort is timed to also broaden exposure internationally; the game will air in China in prime-time.

The NFL has not disclosed on what Internet platform the game will air, and the game will be put up for bidding among national digital platforms.

The game will also air via over-the-air television in the teams’ home markets. Analysts believe the NFL is testing the marketplace in a possible effort to package a Web-only package of NFL games.

For the last several years, the NFL has allowed its TV distributors to run the Super Bowl, as well as preseason games, concurrently on the Web with their over-the-air TV airings.



The NFL also announced that it will suspend its longtime, much-criticized TV blackout rule for next season -- including preseason.

NFL rules are that a local TV blackout is enforced if the local team’s stadium tickets for the game were not virtually sold out. There were no blackouts in the 2014 season; the league had two blackouts in 2013.

Last September, the FCC repealed its sport blackout rules. But the ruling did not affect the NFL’s existing broadcast contracts.

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