NFL Now digital network to deliver personalized videos

The NFL is the latest to take advantage of the shift to digital with media including game highlights and media produced by the teams, NFL.com, or the NFL Network.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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Roger Cheng
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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announcing NFL Now. Roger Cheng/CNET

The National Football League is jumping on the digital bandwagon.

With just three days left before the Super Bowl, the NFL unveiled NFL Now, a digital network that will deliver personalized streams of video to fans. The service won't launch until the summer, most likely around July or August.

The NFL is the latest to make a bigger push in digital and so-called over-the-top media, or videos and other content streamed over the Internet. Others, including ESPN, with its WatchESPN app, and even the World Wrestling Entertainment, with its upcoming WWE Network, are looking to Internet content to bolster their fan base and give them the ability to watch their media on different devices.

NFL Now will utilize game highlights and videos produced by the 32 teams, NFL Network, or NFL.com, as well as NFL Films. Fans can choose their favorite teams and fantasy football players, as well like and dislike videos. Fans will also get access to its vault of NFL videos. In addition, fans will get access to live events, press conferences, and shows. The feed, however, won't include live games.

"The appetite for NFL content is borderline insatiable," said Brian Rolapp, head of media for the NFL. "You clearly see that in the digital platforms."

NFL Now will be made available for free around the world on mobile devices through an app, which is available on Windows Phone, iOS, and Android. In the US, Verizon Wireless customers can get the content through NFL Mobile, as well as on PCs through NFL Now, select consoles, and streaming devices, including Microsoft's Xbox One.

There will also be a paid service called NFL Now Plus, which will provide premium media and features for a monthly fee. A representative for the NFL said it was too early to talk about how much those fees would be.

Verizon, the sponsor of the NFL, will be a key distribution partner, and use its LTE Multicast technology to stream videos to its users. The service looks to be a mix of on-demand clips and some digital broadcast streaming services.

Alongside Verizon, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Gillette have joined up with the NFL as launch partners for the service. Yahoo, for instance, will feature NFL Now on its sports page and app.