Verizon & Sprint Battle On Sports: NFL & ESPN


sportsFor quite awhile, Sprint has been the exclusive partner of the NFL will their NFL Mobile application available on Sprint handsets. In conjunction with their Mobile TV services, fans and subscribers could tune into exclusive content, live updates, video highlights and a whole lot more directly through their phones. With the continually growing popularity of the NFL, Verizon wanted in – and they got it.

In a $720 million, 4-year deal, Verizon will allow its customers to watch live games on Thursdays and Sunday nights in addition to getting coverage from around the league all day every day. That’s huge news – here is a quick part of the press release:

Among the programming that will be available for the first time during the regular season will be the wildly popular NFL RedZone channel from the NFL Network, 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. In addition, fans will receive the NFL Network channel, which airs seven days a week, 24 hours a day on a year-round basis, and is the only network fully dedicated to the NFL and the sport of football.

“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.”

Sprint likely new this agreement was brewing and were simultaneously wheeling and dealing on their own – announcing they’ve just signed an agreement with ESPN to bring a ridiculous amount of sports programming to their own customers. So while it isn’t NFL overload, they’re now able to cover a broad range of sports for their customers:

Fans Can Watch Live Professional and College Games on Their Sprint Mobile Devices
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. & BRISTOL, Conn., Mar 12, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — ESPN and Sprint (NYSE: S) are teaming up to give Sprint customers the ultimate sports experience – in the palm of their hands – with ESPN Mobile TV available on Sprint TV(R). Beginning today, ESPN Mobile TV will offer Sprint consumers unparalleled live sports programming and entertainment from ESPN via Sprint handheld devices.

ESPN Mobile TV coverage during March and April will feature more than 100 live events and over 250 hours of coverage for Sprint customers with this new agreement beginning just in time for fans to watch the Big 12 and Big East Conference Championship basketball games on Sprint mobile devices. Programming and live events through April include:

Take a look what Sprint is promising… and this is just through APRIL:

* 23 Live Men’s NCAA Basketball Games (including Conference Championship games)
* 19 Live Women’s NCAA Basketball Championship Games
* 9 NBA Playoff Games
* 15 Regular Season NBA Games
* 30 Live NBA Fastbreak Shows
* 10 Regular Season MLB Games
* 50 Live Baseball Tonight Studio Shows
* 3 College Football Spring games
* 3 Live Friday Night Fights
* 3 Live NCAA Hockey Championship Games
* 5 Live MLS Matches

So if the carrier didn’t matter… which would you prefer to have?

[polldaddy poll=2896633]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. For me neither, because nothing on the NFL sprint package was ever live streaming, so it wasn’t worth the effort. I can forsee the espn package the same way. I will stick to my NFL Superfan app, because its what was advertized. Live streaming of all the NFL games, when I need it. Not after its all over and I have seen the highlights on sportscenter.

  2. How about some NHL? Soccer?

    I’ll take those, but don’t much care about the rest.

  3. Verizon’s deal is more appealing because the only sport I follow is NFL football.

  4. I’d prefer being able to buy whatever package I want on the Android market. MLB has their thing. It’d be nice to have NFL, NHL, ESPN, or whomever have their own app on the market. It’d be great if ESPN could incorporate it into their ESPN360 offerings, too. I’d not mind catching some Champions League matches.

    Only offering it to specific carriers seems silly in my mind, but Verizon and Sprint are shelling out a lot of dough to pay for them. ($720 million is kind of a lot, I guess.) This probably allows them to hit all 3g devices on a carrier, including Blackberry. NFL Mobile and ESPN probably thought they’d get more from backing a specific carrier, rather than offering it to the entire Android market and getting money on a per-download basis. Kind of stinks for anyone that would like to have a choice of what to get, though.

  5. I just want to know though what service is this being offered via Verizon. VCast is not on the Verizon Android Phones, is it?

  6. Last season, Sprint customers were able to watch live (or 30ish second delay) Thursday night games through the NFL app. Does Verizon’s deal mean that we will no longer have this option?

  7. I know in 2008 we could watch games on NFL mobile live. It was usually the games shown on NFL Network. We could also watch the NFL Network on our phones. Even though it isn’t the same as watching, you could listen to any game through your phone. There might have been a delay, but if you weren’t around a TV or your favorite team’s game wasn’t broadcast, it was better than catching the highlights on ESPN.

  8. I used the NFL app occasionally during season but so many people hated having it pre-installed and unremovable (without hacks) on the Pre at least (not sure about Android). Sucks it’s not available but it should have been opt-in from the beginning.

  9. NFL mobile on sprint was free and the new ESPN channel is also free.verizon is going to charge their customers for NFL mobile which is always better.btw in case your wondering,im watcing the ESPN channel on my HERO and their are commercials.i hate commercials.

  10. WHAAAAT? Did I read that right? Did Sprint actually PAY $720 million dollars for NFL? This is insane! What right do they have to pay for ANY kind of programming in order to force it onto their customers phones? And THEN embed the cost of this crapware into our monthly bills! I’m infuriated by this galling temerity! They have NO right to do this! I am the “customer”, and therefore “the boss”, not Sprint, by God! By this I mean: its MY phone–not theirs. How DARE they assume I want to PAY monthly for sports of ANY kind. If anyone wants that, then they are free to buy an app for it themselves (on the Android Market). I SHOULD NOT be forced to subsidize it for them. This is PRECISELY what is happening when something like NFL or NASCAR or ESPN or some other expensive “paid for” service is licensed (at great cost) by Sprint and the cost of it is spread among ALL the users.

    SPRINT ARE YOU READING THIS!! You’d better be, and you’d better get rid of all this extraneous crapware–immediately if not sooner!

    Below is a commentary I wrote in the forum of the article about Android 2.1 … It covers the issue further. I was already mad enough when I wrote the article below. But since learning that Sprint wasted $720,000,000 on sports programming, and are forcing customers who don’t even like sports to subsidize it for those who do, I am now absolutely LIVID!! How DARE they??

    (From my post on Android 2.1 update) Another thing, I noticed there are updates in 2.1 to some “crapware” that I don’t even want at all (and intensely resent being forced by Sprint to pay for) such as NFL and Nascar (and possibly Sprint Navigation). WTF is up with that? It’s rotten enough that they FORCE me to pay for it by building it into the OS and monthly charge, whether I want it or not, I can’t even UNINSTALL them to save memory space. I called Sprint advanced tech and they said these crapware apps were hardwired into the OS. They said I could get root and dig them out, but then they wouldn’t support anything. So I can’t get rid of them and besides now the 2.1 update will add more bytes into them which will take up EVEN MORE space. I wonder how much of my money they wasted developing these app updates that I hate and despise and am forced by Sprint to allow on my phone??

    Don’t get me wrong, Sprint does a lot of things “more right” (if not perfectly) than Verizon and AT&T. And I’ve had Verizon b4–MISERABLE coverage and massive dropped calls compared to Sprint. BUUUUT when Sprint screws up they rarely admit it. As for these crapware apps of theirs, I wonder if anyone has told them about the Android market? I’ve never checked but I’d bet money that there are apps for NFL and Nascar and Navigation (etc) on the Market, and THAT’S where such stuff should be–NOT baked into the OS! I don’t even want text messaging included, if I want to text I can download an app for that.

    ALL I want from you, Sprint, (ALL–MIND YOU) is voice and unlimited data! That’s it!! And here’s another newsflash for you Sprint (and other carriers) as soon as your 3g and 4g get upgraded everywhere and either Skype or some other service comes out with an app with unlimited minutes to replace your voice service, I am “so gone”. I will only need or want “data only” then. You can fight it all you want, but your voice business will be totally commoditized within 10 years of today and I can’t wait. Get it thru your thick proprietary heads, we ONLY need you for data. That’s it!! Data ONLY! Everything else is an application (EVERYTHING!!!) including voice! You can FIGHT your customers by bundling crapware together and delaying OS OTA updates and treating everything like its STILL your little “walled garden”, but you will only succeed in slightly slowing down the inevitable–and pissing us all off in the meantime! OOOOOR you can embrace the painful future and earn our good will, and future data business by not holding up the inevitable another microsecond longer than it has to take.

    Now, can I get an “AMEN” on all that from the congregation!! Thank you.

  11. sprint did not pay 720 mill verizon did you read it wrong

  12. @7 years w/sprint uh, no you didn’t read it right. It says “In a $720 million, 4-year deal, Verizon will allow its customers to watch live games on Thursdays and Sunday nights in addition to getting coverage from around the league all day every day.” Go scream at Verizon and stop trying to find reasons to bash sprint. As I type this, I’m beginning to wonder why u still have sprint service since you are soooooo unhappy.

  13. @ 7 years. How about you put down that bottle you’ve been sipping all day and learn how to read before you go on a random rant in which you dont know what the hell you are talking about. Obviously you have no idea what marketing and sales efforts work. You also don’t know how our government taxes work differently for corporations than your “dub-2”.

    Let me enlighten your ignorance. 1) Companies are taxed on their “fiscal” end of year profits. Stuff like this helps lower a companies tax rate and increase marketing and product awareness. 2) If you think you are wasting your money with sprint (which I doubt you have a Sprint phone), go somewhere else and pay more for the same or less service. 3) If you like Skype and other services that make you leave, how about you use a land line phone. 4)If you only need data BUY A CONNECTION CARD DUMBASS. That is available for all carriers but you’re gonna pay. The ONLY company with uld data for devices that is wireless without having to tether your phone is…. SPRINT/CLEARWIRE!

    I used to work for Sprint and currently work for At&t and guess where my At&t earned money goes every month???

  14. Sprint did NOT pay $720m Verizon did. Sprint was paying $120m during it’s ‘reign’ over the NFL. Damn I switched to sprint EVO…part of my decision was influenced by the NFL mobile widget…and now VZ has the deal..WTH ?!?!?!

  15. My main concern is that you mispelled “knew” with “new”.
    “Sprint likely new…” Come on. Seriously.

  16. I use the TV Everwhere app through DISH Network and haven’t had a problem. I work with DISH so I’ve had it pretty much since it became available. I just watched the Broncos game this weekend while stuck at the airport. Anyone else this app?

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