ESPN is joining NBC Sports in adding new streaming rights to NFL games on its mobile platforms.
ESPN announced Wednesday that it had signed a deal with the league to offer authenticated pay-TV subscribers access to games on smartphones through the 2021 season. ESPN will provide the games on all its digital proprieties, starting with the NFL Wild Card weekend, Jan. 6-7.
NBC announced a similar deal earlier this week. CBS Sports and Fox Sports are likely to follow.
Verizon previously had exclusive mobile rights to games. The ESPN deal removes that exclusivity, but allows for Verizon to stream the games on more of its platforms, including potentially Oath platforms such as Yahoo Sports.
In the case of NBC "Sunday Night Football," NBC had exclusive national ad sales rights. It was not immediately clear whether ESPN shared similar ad sales rights.
ESPN already streams its studios shows, such as "Sunday NFL Countdown," across all devices. ESPN says that since August, right before the season kicked off, users have logged 1.4 billion NFL-related video views, and 30.4 billion minutes of NFL content on its digital platforms, an increase of 198% and 13%, respectively.