January 20, 2015 / 1:05 PM / 5 years ago

NBC woos online viewers with 11-hour stream on Super Bowl Sunday

(Reuters) - U.S. TV network NBC will stream 11 consecutive hours of live content on Super Bowl Sunday free of charge, including the game and halftime show, to raise awareness of its online viewing platforms among the event’s traditionally record audiences.

Jan 18, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) pumps his fists as he heads to the sideline in the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Starting at noon Eastern time on Feb. 1, fans will be able to access the NBC Sports Live Extra app and website on their tablets and desktop computers without the typical log-in requirement to show proof of a pay TV subscription, the network said.

NBC removed that step to encourage viewers to try out the live streaming options and return for future events, Rick Cordella, senior vice president and general manager for digital media at NBC Sports Group, said in an interview.

The initiative is part of a push by networks to promote “TV Everywhere,” an industry effort to make content widely available on Internet-connected devices as consumers flock to digital options.

“It’s just a great means to promote TV Everywhere and our products,” Cordella said. “With the Super Bowl, we will have maximum eyeballs on it.”

In addition to the game and halftime show featuring singer Katy Perry, NBC will stream the pre- and post-game shows on NBC Sports Live Extra. On NBC.com, the network will also make available a new episode of drama “The Blacklist” that will run on TV just after Super Bowl coverage concludes.

The commercials, a big draw for some viewers due to their often slick production, will differ between the TV and digital stream. But NBC plans to make all of the in-game television ads available online and will announce details soon, Cordella said.

On mobile phones, live viewing of the Super Bowl is available only to customers of Verizon Communications Inc through the NFL Mobile app.

The Super Bowl, which rotates among networks, is traditionally the most-watched telecast of the year. The 2014 Super Bowl averaged a record 112.2 million viewers on network Fox, according to researcher Nielsen.

NBC is a unit of Comcast Corp. Fox is part of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

Editing by Christopher Cushing

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