The moment will mark the NFL's second experiment with Internet streaming, after NBC offered Super Bowl XLIX as a Web cast in February. It highlights the growing pressure facing sports leagues and traditional TV providers to adapt to consumer demands for programming that is available anywhere they are. And the exclusive deal is a major coup for Yahoo, a search company that has struggled to define itself in an era dominated by Google.
It will be a significant test for the burgeoning market for "over-the-top" streaming services that deliver content via the Internet. By a huge margin, Sunday and Monday Night Football now attract more viewers than the 10 most popular broadcast network shows combined, according to the Atlantic.
With so much riding on professional football, the league's embrace of streaming is likely to bring over-the-top video even further into the mainstream than services such as Netflix and Hulu already have. Given that Netflix accounts for nearly 37 percent of all U.S Internet traffic, an influx of livestreamed football traffic could push the Internet's capacity to its limits as Americans shift away from the traditional cable bundle to embrace cord-cutting and "skinny" channel bundles.
In the future, livestreaming could even become a lucrative new revenue stream for the NFL as it auctions off exclusive rights to its Web casts. Yahoo may have paid as much as $10 million to stream the single game on Oct. 25, according to CNN, beating out Google and other bidders.
That's right: the football games of the future could be brought to you by some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley, in yet another sign of the tech industry's spread into every crevice of our lives.