CBS Corp’s All Access subscription-based streaming video service will offer live National Football League games beginning on Sunday, CBS said on Thursday.
The agreement covers all NFL games that air on CBS throughout the rest of the current season and post-season, it said in a statement. The specific games that subscribers will have access to on Sundays depends on which game their local CBS station is carrying.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed by either CBS or the NFL.
The deal covers all tablets and connected TV devices where CBS All Access is available. For mobile customers, the games will be available only to subscribers who are also Verizon Communications Inc customers, due to the telecom company's exclusive mobile rights deal with the NFL.
All Access costs subscribers $6 a month for live and on-demand content, though the lack of pro football has been cited by analysts as an impediment to expanding the platform. CBS is planning two TV series that will be exclusive to CBS All Access – a spinoff of “The Good Wife” and a new “Star Trek” series – as another way of boosting subscribers.
The multiyear deal is a way for the league to reach consumers who do not subscribe to a TV package. The NFL has been experimenting in recent years with distributing its games over the internet.
Last year, the league offered a free livestream of its game between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars on Yahoo Inc. This year, the NFL reached a deal with Twitter Inc that allowed the social media company to simulcast 10 Thursday games that aired on television.
“Distribution of our games on CBS All Access is a win for the millions of NFL fans across the country, especially those looking to watch our games on these emerging digital platforms,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
It has been a particularly rough season for the NFL in terms of TV viewership, particularly during primetime. There has been some uptick since the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election, which the league had cited as one of the reasons for the ratings downturn.
Both CBS and 21st Century Fox Inc’s Fox network had their most-watched games of the season on Thanksgiving.
CBS drew 27.6 million viewers for its Detroit Lions-Minnesota Vikings matchup. Fox garnered 35.1 million viewers for its game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins, making it the most-watched regular season NFL game in its history.
(Reporting by Tim Baysinger; Editing by James Dalgleish and Jonathan Oatis)