NBCU to Stream Sunday Night Football to Mobile Phones, Broadcasts to Include Local Ads

NBCUniversal (CMCSA), which has been streaming Sunday Night Football to desktops, tablets and connected TVs since 2008, has acquired the rights to stream SNF to all mobile devices, including mobile phones for the first time. The deal also provides NBCU’s cable, satellite, traditional and virtual MVPD partners with authenticated streaming rights. The NBCU mobile stream will contain both national and local affiliate ads (for 1st time). SNF is primetime television’s #1 show; NBCU also owns the rights to the #2 rated show, TNF.

Howie Long-Short: NBCU had the ability to add rights to stream games to mobile phones after Verizon gave up exclusivity as part of its recent 5-year $2.5 billion deal with the NFL. In exchange for conceding exclusivity, the telecom giant picked up the rights to stream in-market and nationally-televised league games (and access to on-demand content) to any mobile device, Oath owned web property (i.e. Yahoo (AABA), Yahoo Sports, AOL, Go90) or connected TV nationwide regardless of carrier. Verizon won’t have the rights to sell national ads though, as NBCU maintains exclusive control over the inventory; now offering advertisers expanded reach through VZ (and NFL mobile) platforms.

Fan Marino: Speaking of football on NBC, there are rumors that the XFL (a WWE/NBC collaboration) could be making a return. The WWE didn’t exactly deny the rumors, saying Vince McMahon “has established and is personally funding a separate entity from WWE, Alpha Entertainment, to explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football.” If the league does get a reboot, don’t expect NBC to be a part of it this time around; the network, hungry for football, didn’t own any NFL rights back in 2001.

Twitter Envisions Future Where Fans Might Pay A Dollar To See A Buzzer Beater

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NFL, Verizon Strike $2.5 Billion Deal, In-Market Games Now Available on All Carriers 

The NFL has signed a 5-year deal with Verizon (VZ), valued at $500 million/year, that enables the telecom giant to stream in-market and nationally televised league games (and access to on-demand content) to any mobile device, Oath owned web property (i.e. Yahoo (AABA), Yahoo Sports, AOL, Go90) or connected TV nationwide; regardless of carrier, beginning in January. The new deal provides VZ with the ability to sell select in-game ad spots, but does not include the exclusivity it enjoys under the terms of the expiring contract (4 years, $250 million/year). DirecTV (T) owns the rights to stream out-of-market games through the 2022 season.

Howie Long-Short: Verizon acquired Yahoo! earlier this year for $4.5 billion, combining its media and technology assets with AOL’s (which it acquired for $4.4 billion in 2015) to form Oath; a company with 50+ brands (which also include the Huffington Post, TechCrunch and others) and a reach of over 200 million monthly unique users in the U.S. VZ sees the NFL as valuable content it can spread across Oath platforms (more valuable than the exclusivity), with Brian Angiolet, Global Chief Media and Content Officer calling football “the marquee sport” to drive an audience. He’s right and that by a mile. The NFL is averaging 15.1 million viewers/game this season; the ’17 NBA playoffs on ESPN/ABC (1st Round – Conference Finals) averaged just 4.26 million.

Fan Marino: Verizon customers have had the ability to stream NFL games on smartphones since 2010, but the remainder of the league’s fans have been blacked-out while on-the-go. Revoking Verizon’s exclusivity will result in broader availability and ultimately increased viewership for the league; but it’s the fans who win biggest with this deal. Fanatics will never again miss a minute of game action, while the casual cord-cutting fan can continue to follow the league and his/her home team.

Verizon to pay NFL $500 million a year to stream games

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Cuban Foresees Upcoming Boom, Compares Opportunity to Dotcom Era

Dallas Mavericks Owner and Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban, foresees an upcoming boom; with investment opportunities unlike anything we’ve seen since the rise of the dotcom era, in the late 1990s. Cuban is qualified to speak on the subject, having sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo! (AABA), at the peak of the dotcom bubble, for $5.7 billion (in stock). In an a short interview with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, on Scoop B Radio, Cuban pointed to several fields that could experience similar growth over the next few years including; “deep learning, machine learning, machine vision, bio analytics and biomechanics.” As for his thoughts on virtual reality, “I don’t think that’s going to be quite as successful as people think”.

Howie Long-Short: Cuban mentions several technological advances that may not be in everyone’s vernacular, so I’m going to try and explain them. Machine learning is the practice of using algorithms to parse data, learn from it and then make determinations based on the large amount of data the machine was trained on. Deep learning is a technique for implementing machine learning, that relies on artificial neural networks (like a brain), where large amounts of data are run through the system to train it. Machine vision refers to a computer’s ability to see (think OCR). Bio analytics relates to the measurement of substances within a biological system, while biomechanics focuses on the movement or structure of living organisms.

Fan Marino: While Cuban may not be particularly bullish on VR from an investment standpoint, the technology appears useful within the sports world. Set to launch in 2018, RBI-VR (from Monsterful VR) will be used by MLB players to enhance pitch recognition and timing, while minimizing the risk of injury. RBI-VR compiles and calculates data to recreate the throwing mechanics, biomechanics, vertical and horizontal release point of any pitcher in the league with near 100% accuracy. Considered by the MLB Player’s Association to be “best-in market”, the technology has been built with input from an advisory board that includes Lloyd McClendon, Dusty Baker, Gene Orza, Don Mattingly and Edgar Martinez.

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