America’s favorite pastime (sorry baseball) will be making its way to your mobile devices and set top boxes later this month – well, sort of. In May, the NFL announced new partnerships for NFL Now, its online video distribution service that will bring personalized news, highlights, and analysis to viewers over a variety of mediums – but no live games. The company today announced that AppleTV will join competing set top boxes like Roku and Amazon’s FireTV, as well as a growing list of distribution partners from the likes of Yahoo, Microsoft, and Verizon.
Billed as a personalized platform for easy access to your favorite team and players, NFL Now will be available to viewers for free across a variety of sources, including iOS and Android mobile devices and tablets, PCs, Xbox and Surface tablets, and Yahoo services like Yahoo Sports, and Yahoo Screen, along with the aforementioned set-top boxes.
The service, which is slated for launch around the start of NFL preseason coverage in August, has also garnered a growing list of sponsors. McDonalds was announced in May, joining other big names like Gillette and Verizon. The NFL has been adding more sponsors and distribution partners as the service approaches its launch date, showing some outside confidence that the service will take off.
NFL Now users will also be able to single out fantasy players, which could potentially make the service a success on its own – especially considering a recent Forbes report that pegs the voraciously engaging time-killer as a $25 billion industry in tangible figures on its own. If the NFL can create a superior interface that delivers fantasy football stats and information in real time, it could scoop up an even larger slice of that lucrative fantasy football pie.
The service is more evidence of content distributors testing the waters of digital distribution, as the line between TV and online video continues to blur. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single live game on the docket for NFL Now at present, keeping the Golden Ticket of sports broadcasting at arms reach from cord-cutters. Whether or not fans will respond to this new teaser of the real thing remains to be seen.
Updated 8/04/2014: This post has been updated to add Apple TV to the growing list of devices available for NFL NOW as it approaches launch.