Mar 09, 2010 at 03:16 PM
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NFL, Verizon Launch NFL Mobile

The National Football League has teamed up with Verizon Wireless to launch a new mobile content suite called NFL Mobile, which will be dedicated to providing exclusive NFL content to on-the-go fans. According to sources at the Wall Street Journal, the four-year agreement which starts next month is worth $720 million, which includes a rights fee and earmarked media spending.

Verizon Wireless, which also becomes the NFL's official wireless service sponsor, will provide unprecedented programming options including the NFL RedZone channel, which airs live look-ins of every key play and touchdown from Sunday afternoon games. Fans also will be able to watch live streaming of NBC's Sunday Night Football and NFL Network's Thursday Night Football, as well as around the clock coverage from the NFL Network channel.

"This is an agreement that has, at its core a mutual desire by both the NFL and Verizon Wireless to provide consumers with what they want on and off the field," said John Stratton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. "For Verizon Wireless, it is NFL content delivered over our 3G network so football fans can extend the excitement of the sport long after the last touchdown of a season. And the NFL content is customizable in that consumers have options from video to ringtones to alerts; the choice is theirs."

Verizon Wireless plans to commercially launch its 4G network in 25 to 30 markets by the end of this year and in virtually all of its current nationwide footprint by the end of 2013. Among other reasons for the upgrade, the new initiative could provide a wider coverage footprint even extending to rural areas, global roaming, higher download speeds and the opportunity to share more data across converged devices.

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

Verizon's recently announced agreement with Skype to launch Skype Mobile exclusively at Verizon, could create interesting possibilities for the NFL from an international perspective. Droid handsets will come loaded with the “new” feature that allows for calls anywhere in the world without using minutes. See the video below for a more visual explanation of the new service.

With the deal, Verizon will take possession of the NFL's wireless services category from Sprint, which initially launched NFL Mobile in the fall of 2005. According to Sprint, the NFL Mobile Live application set the company's single-day record for downloads on Sept. 7, 2008, the first Sunday of the 2008 NFL season.