Following the live-streaming success in 2015, the National Football League is planning to live-stream all three games scheduled to be played in London in October. Apple and Google are among the companies that are in bidding talks to secure the live streaming rights for the games. This would be the first time for either of the company to live-stream games if they win the bid.
The NFL has already announced the London games scheduled for the next season. They include the Indianapolis Colts vs the Jacksonville Jaguar to be played on 20 October, the New York Giants vs the St Louis Rams on 23 October and the Washington Redskins vs the Cincinnati Bengals scheduled on the 30th of that month.
In 2015, the NFL partnered with Yahoo to live-stream a game played between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills in London. That was the first ever live-stream of a football game which attracted 15.2 million unique viewers, with 33.6 million total views. Yahoo dropped its price for commercials during the game from $200,000 (£137,736, €183,125) to $100,000 (£688,68, €915,62). Yahoo had sold all the ad slots to more than 30 advertisers.
"We're thrilled with the results of our initial step distributing an NFL game to a worldwide audience and with the work of our partner, Yahoo. We are incredibly excited by the fact that we took a game that would have been viewed by a relatively limited television audience in the United States and by distributing it digitally were able to attract a global audience of over 15 million viewers," Hans Schroeder, senior vice-president, Media Strategy, Business Development & Sales for NFL, had said in October 2015.
It is unclear if the NFL will stream all three games as a package or individually, according to Reuters. The amount involved in the deal to secure the rights is also not known.
According to the report, the NFL's Thursday night football package including the live-streaming rights are available for bidding, a decision on which is expected to be taken before the Super Bowl in February.
Les Moonves, the chief executive officer of CBS, which had won deals for streaming rights for NFL Thursday night football for the past two years, said the network is bidding again. Fox Sports is among the other bidders.
Tom Richardson, sports media professor at Columbia University, New York, believes Google, Apple and other tech majors wanting to partner with the NFL should not come as a surprise as they want to build their presence in media. He added: "Professional sports content is among the most premium content you can find. If it happened in Hollywood, why wouldn't it happen with professional sports?"