I love NFL football. And while I'm not a huge fan of the Thursday night games that the league started back in 2006, I would love to be able to stream some games on my smartphone or tablet. There has been some rumblings of changes within the NFL, and one of them is that the Thursday Night Football game might be made available for live streaming from Google Play or Netflix.
Back in June there was news that the NFL was meeting with Google about possibly integrating the NFL Sunday Ticket into YouTube. That apparently was not all that was discussed at those meetings. This week the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the NFL is discussing the idea of adding a second Thursday Night Football game to the schedule. Those rumors may or may not be true, and some fans and players are not necessarily happy about the idea. One of the logistical things to work out is how those games on Thursday night might be offered to viewers.
Traditionally, cable TV companies have ruled the NFL airspace. The WSJ report says that the additional TNF game could be offered using an alternate streaming method, maybe something like Netflix. With the NFL meeting with Google also, there could be something in the works. Take this quote from the WSJ report:
"League officials have also considered selling the Thursday night package to a nontraditional media partner, including online players like Netflix Inc. or Google Play."
A move like this would be controversial, but so were the Thursday Night Football games in the first place. One of the issues with TNF is that they are shown exclusively on the NFL Network. The games are not broadcast on ESPN or any other network. The NFL could end up losing viewers from its network to Google Play or Netflix. On the other hand, if it's only the second TNF game that is broadcast on Netflix or Google Play, the current TNF game would still be on the NFL Network. The NFL is keeping its options open about mobile and online streaming alternatives. Verizon currently has the rights to NFL Mobile and streams the NFL Red Zone and some games through their app, but it's not available to everyone.