Verizon’s NFL streaming isn’t restricted to its own customers anymore

The new deal goes into effect in January 2018.

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Verizon and the NFL signed a new $2 billion, five-year deal today. In it, Verizon traded its previous status as the exclusive US wireless carrier for NFL games for the exclusive rights to livestream games to any device, whether a cell phone, a computer or a streaming device attached to a TV. The new deal kicks off in January 2018, and brings the NFL playoffs to Yahoo and Yahoo Sports.

The key here is that the in-market games (this doesn't cover Sunday afternoon out-of-market games) are available to anyone, regardless of carrier or service provider. Verizon has the rights to stream these games through its Oath properties (such as Yahoo Sports), which apparently it sees as more valuable than restricting these games to its current, paying customers. Previously, Verizon's deal with the NFL only covered mobile streaming.

This is a big shift in Verizon's thinking. The company seems to be using the NFL deal as a traffic driver to sites such as Yahoo Sports. The agreement also covers access to NFL highlights and news throughout the year. Presumably, all of this will be available within the Yahoo Sports app.