Will New Streaming Service NFL Now Help Boost the League’s Online Presence?

The National Football League will introduce a new streaming video service next season called NFL Now. What's the real objective here?

Mar 12, 2014 at 3:22PM

I consider myself an average football fan, more or less. Like three-quarters of American men, I watch the NFL, and like the 25 million people obsessed with their fantasy leagues, I often pretend to be a real-life general manager. Just as the majority of all stat geeks do, I also prefer ESPN and Yahoo's (NASDAQ:YHOO) virtual football to the NFL's fantasy game, but unlike some of them, I'm excited about a new product the league just unveiled.

Say hello to NFL Now
In the Fantasy Sports Trade Association's latest newsletter, President Paul Charchian writes, "The NFL has launched a massive new digital initiative called NFL Now. It's a media aggregator designed to bring personalized content to each user based on his or her preferences.... They'll be pulling highlights from all of their various content outlets, including NFL Network footage, NFL Films, and NFL.com." Charchian explains that Now is able to provide insight about your favorite team and any player on your fantasy team.

While it may not stream live games -- that's still reserved for DirecTV's (NASDAQ:DTV) Sunday Ticket in the U.S. -- NFL Now is free. And availability on smartphones and tablets will be a net positive for millions of fans who were previously limited to NFL Mobile from Verizon, RedZone, and Game Rewind, all of which have associated fees.


Source: NFL.

In an interview with the FSTA, NFL executive Cory Mummery describes Now as an "opportunity to build a one-to-one digital relationship with ... fans," adding, "a personalization engine ... will leverage every user's preferences and content consumption history." A premium option, called Now Plus, will take the service a step further, by providing instant highlights and analysis that sync with a user's fantasy lineup.

The league's real goal 
The ultimate purpose of Now is likely to boost the league's online presence. According to Nielsen's latest Year in Sports Media Report, the NFL's fantasy football app ranked a distant third behind Disney's (NYSE:DIS) ESPN and Yahoo last season.

Screen Shot

Source: Nielsen, 2013 Year in Sports Media Report.

As I've said in the past, access to streaming video is a major advantage the league has over its competitors. If it can begin to couple these services with its own fantasy game, its audience can grow, and with Now it appears the NFL will look to do just that. In terms of sessions, NFL.com users already browse more often than their peers -- that's indicative of a content advantage.

Last year, a study from comScore also revealed that the NFL sits a mere eighth among sports sites in digital audience size, with an estimated 20 million monthly unique visitors. ESPN and Yahoo Sports, meanwhile, have more than twice that level of interest. No matter how you spin it, there's room for improvement.

What's the future hold?
This question is tougher to answer. While football's popularity and the proliferation of fantasy sports have helped the NFL achieve a record level of financial health, a better online presence may stimulate even more expansion. Annual revenues flirted with $10 billion this season, and commissioner Roger Goodell wants to hit the $25 billion mark by 2027. It's clear what direction the league wants to go -- up.

Personally, NFL Now has piqued my interest. If synced fantasy highlights come to fruition, the prospect of such a service may be too great to pass up. Instant alerts every time a guy like Eddie Lacy or Zac Stacy bruises into the end zone? I'll take it, especially if they're on my team.

A smart move for any football fan
Want to profit on business analysis like this, even though it's the NFL offseason? The key for your future is to turn business insights into portfolio gold through smart and steady investing ... starting right now. Those who sit on the sidelines are missing out on huge gains and putting their financial futures in jeopardy. The Motley Fool is offering a new special report, an essential guide to investing, which includes access to top stocks to buy now. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

Jake Mann has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends DirecTV, Walt Disney, and Yahoo!. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information