NBC will stream 'Sunday Night Football' to your phone in 2018

The end to Verizon's NFL exclusive has some perks.

Matthew Emmons-USA Today Sports

The end to Verizon's NFL streaming exclusive is already paying dividends. NBCUniversal has cut a deal with the NFL that gives it the rights to stream Sunday Night Footbal through TV Everywhere on smartphones, not just bigger-screened devices like PCs, tablets and TVs. The deal takes effect starting with the 2018 season, so you might not get to watch the Super Bowl on your handset in February. So long as you have TV service, though, you'll at least get to tune into regular season games throughout 2018.

The agreement also leads to something you might not be quite so thrilled about: ads. When you stream through any of NBC's apps and websites, you'll get both national and local affiliate promos.

This isn't the same as a pure streaming option (NBC is protecting its TV cash cow), but it does illustrate the increased flexibility the NFL's partners have now that Verizon doesn't have a firm grip on mobile viewing -- you now have more choices as to how and where you watch football. That could increase the number of people who spectate online and reduce the need to huddle around a TV during the big game.