Verizon to stream all NFL games beginning in 2014! Here's how they'll still screw you
But if you've ever bought a paid streaming product from the NFL, you know there is a huge difference between what they tell you that you get and what you actually get. I've picked through the press release that Verizon put out today, and I can already see their cleverly-worded loopholes that make it sound like "all you can eat" when they really mean "whatever we have left over".
Verizon and the NFL announced today that Verizon will stream all NFL games to smartphones beginning in 2014, as part of Verizon's renewed billion-dollar contract to be the official wireless service provider of the NFL. The press release says specifically, "Beginning with the 2014 season, NFL Mobile from Verizon will expand to include access to live CBS and Fox Sunday afternoon games within their home markets, as well as all postseason playoff games, including the Super Bowl."
Before you run out and switch your service to Verizon, let me explain three things that statement says even though it does not actually come out and say these things.
"All games" does not actually mean "all games" - This is not some DirecTV Sunday Ticket kind of deal that gives you your choice of whatever game you want. You only get whatever crap game is on your local CBS or FOX affiliate. And if your hometown team has not sold out the game that week, you'll be stuck with the broadcast of some other divisional team playing the Bengals.
You cannot watch games on an iPad or tablet - Verizon NFL Mobile will only stream games on a smartphone -- not on a tablet. The NFL is dead-set against showing their games on tablets (except the Super Bowl). Comcast does offer a service that plays your TV feed on an iPad, and I'm told it will play NFL games. But that's only available if you have Comcast -- which more than half of the U.S. does not.
They are going to jack up the price again - Back when Sprint was the NFL's wireless provider, they'd stream the Thursday night game for free to Sprint customers. When Verizon took over, the games remained free until Verizon started charging $5 for the games as a premium benefit. Now that you'll get nearly twice as many games, you can expect you'll be paying at least twice as much for them.
There is one nice thing teased in the press release -- the Wall Street Journal reports that "The NFL and Verizon are also partnering to create a new NFL mobile application that will be available to all fans, regardless of their carrier, though Verizon customers will have access to a premium version of the application." In other words, you won't need to be a Verizon customer to get the games streamed on your phone. But this will be in the future, and there is guarantee that the deal will indeed include live game streams.
The press release also fails to mention one critical thing -- streaming an entire NFL game on your cell phone can really wreak havoc on your battery life and data plan.