The NFL is prepping to launch an updated delivery system for its coveted vault of content which will serve up “all 256 regular season games on-demand” for the coming season, as well as live preseason games, and old broadcasts reaching back to 2009. A big selling point for the new app is availability on extended platforms, including Apple TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and more.
A freshly rolled out update to the league’s NFL Game Pass, the app will replace NFL Game Rewind, which is slated to be discontinued at the end of July. However, as is nearly always the case when it comes to the NFL, the real catch is in the fine print: the new app will not offer a single live regular season game. Oh, so close!
Instead, users who access Game Pass will have to wait until after “such games have aired on broadcast television” — all of them. Set in micro-font at the bottom of the new app’s official webpage, the league lays out the restrictions: “Sunday morning and afternoon games (9:30am ET, 1pm ET & 4pm ET) are available at the conclusion of all Sunday 4pm ET games.” The rest of the games, including those aired on Sunday nights, Saturdays, and Thursdays will be available for on-demand streaming “at the conclusion of the applicable telecast.”
Also, the service will be offline during the Superbowl, although we’re not sure anyone will want to be catching up on old broadcasts during the big day, anyway. Pricing for the new service has not yet been disclosed.
The new Game Pass app does have some enticing features, though. Included is the ability to watch condensed games without commercials — which alters the usual 3 hour festivities to a short burst of about 30 minutes — coaches film, and archives of marquee matchups from games past, including play-off games and Superbowls.
The service also offers stats and scores from around the league, and even features the ability to turn off scores from current games so you can catch up with the games you missed without spoilers. DVR-style controls should offer a familiar UI to those with traditional pay TV packages, and there’s no doubt that the addition of Game Pass for Apple TV, as well as Xbox consoles, is a major upgrade. While a version of Game Pass is currently available on mobile devices via the NFL Mobile app, as 9to5 Mac reports, this marks the first time full NFL games will be available on the Apple TV.
All that being said, the most exciting thing about live sports (especially NFL games) is just that: the live aspect. While the new Game Pass app is certainly a step-up from previous iterations, those who want to get in on the action on game day — as any true NFL fan does — will still need to watch their local team via a traditional broadcast, find other means to watch their out-of-market games online, or pay out their pound of flesh for DirecTV’s golden goose, NFL Sunday Ticket.