NFL signs mobile phone deal with Verizon Wireless

MIAMI Tue Mar 9, 2010 12:29pm EST

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady talks on the phone during the team's walk through for the NFL's Super Bowl XLII football game in Glendale, Arizona, February 2, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Shaun Best

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady talks on the phone during the team's walk through for the NFL's Super Bowl XLII football game in Glendale, Arizona, February 2, 2008 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Shaun Best

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MIAMI (Reuters) - The NFL has signed a four-year agreement with Verizon Wireless to show live games and highlights on mobile phones in a deal U.S. media reported was worth $720 million.

"We are looking forward to working with Verizon Wireless to deliver our fans the most extensive experience on mobile phones," said NFL senior vice president of media strategy Brian Rolapp in a statement.

"Our fans have an insatiable appetite for football and we will be able to keep them connected wherever they are on game day but also throughout the year."

The NFL and Verizon declined to comment on the financial terms but the Wall Street Journal said the deal, which includes a rights fee as well as advertising spending, was worth $720 million.

The deal makes the communications company the official wireless provider for the league and boosts the number of games that can be viewed on mobile devices.

Under the agreement, which replaces the NFL's previous deal with Sprint Nextel Corp, Thursday and Sunday night games from NBC and coverage from the league-owned NFL Network channel and the Red Zone channel will be broadcast.

The content will be available primarily on 3G but Verizon plans to have the faster 4G available in 25 to 30 markets in 2010 and in virtually all its 3G-covered areas in the U.S. by the end of 2013, the company said.

Verizon's live coverage will begin with the NFL draft next month.

(Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami, editing by Tony Jimenez)

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