The National Football League has taken to the digital field with the kickoff of NFL Now, an Internet-video service offering gridiron fans hundreds of hours of free content and a $1.99-per-month premium package with access to even more.
But while NFL Now will include highlights from in-progress games, it won't stream live broadcasts over the Internet -- so as to not step on the toes of its TV rights deals with Fox, CBS, ESPN, NBC and the league's own NFL Network.
Announced in January, NFL Now promises personalized access to the largest digital library of NFL video anywhere, accessible through a range of apps, Internet-connected devices and online at Now.NFL.com. The service went live early Thursday ahead of a slate of preseason night games.
At launch, NFL Now is slated to provide 105 hours per week of original content, according to the league. During the regular season, NFL Now expects to provide some 80 hours of video each week from its 32 individual team franchises.
The digital network is available on the web; via connected-TV devices including Roku, Apple TV, Microsoft Xbox and Amazon Fire TV; on Android, Apple iOS and Windows Mobile smartphones; and on Android, iOS, Amazon Kindle Fire and Windows tablets. In addition, NFL Now will be distributed via Yahoo Screen and Yahoo Sports.
For the truly football-obsessed, there's the NFL Now Plus option, priced at $1.99 monthly in the U.S. with international rates varying. Subscribers will get instant in-game highlights from each game (in the free version of the service, these will be delayed), as well as a customized stream of big plays by their favorite team, players or fantasy roster.
Additionally, NFL Now Plus provides access to the vault of NFL Films shows and documentaries, including "America's Game" to "A Football Life," along with 352 hours of historical team highlights and 30 hours of Super Bowl highlights from 1967 to 2009.
The NFL's launch sponsors for the service are Verizon Communications, Gilette, McDonald's and Nationwide Insurance.
The league is producing original programming for NFL Now from NFL Media's studios in Culver City, Calif. The short-form content comprises breaking news, shows and features on a daily basis. The digital service also is slated to broadcast live press conferences and other league events.
The NFL Now team includes EVP of media Brian Rolapp, chief digital officer Perkins Miller and SVP of sales Brian Matthews. Cory Mummery, formerly VP of fantasy production for the league, is NFL Now's g.m.
Watch the NFL's ad for the service: