Verizon drops data charges for live NFL streaming via NFL Mobile app

Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 10.28.58 PMAre you ready for football? And are you ready for cellular company wars around viewing football on your phone? Verizon kicked off the 2016 NFL season with an announcement Friday that it would no longer charge its customers for data used while watching live NFL games via the NFL Mobile app, perhaps the biggest sign that the battle we predicted is now fully underway.

From our perspective, some of the most-read stories in Mobile Sports Report history have been posts wondering about how much data customers might use watching a live football game on their phones. The answer now, for Verizon LTE customers, is easy: It’s zero. You will still need to pay $1.99 a month this fall to watch RedZone on your phone (to us, RedZone is even better than specific live games), but watching the live local and national-broadcast games (like Sunday night games and Monday Night Football) won’t chew up any of the gigabytes in your data plan.

Whether or not this type of “free programming” will spark any net neutrality debate is best left for other outlets, though it’s hard to think of a type of programming more popular than live NFL action. In the meantime, our guess is that the wildly popular NFL Mobile app (Verizon never releases figures on how many users it has for NFL Mobile, but if you start your guessing between 5 and 10 million you might not be far off) will get even more popular, and the promotion should help sell a lot of fence-sitters this weekend on buying with Verizon, just to get even the app’s limited NFL schedule for basically free.

The promotion may not even cost Verizon much when it comes to minutes, since many NFL Mobile veterans I know (some of whom are already tweeting in agreement to the next statement) almost always seek a Wi-Fi connection when they are streaming NFL Mobile games, because better bandwidth and no data charges. But it’s a hell of a selling point and one we kind-of predicted when we foresaw cell-phone NFL battles between Verizon and its NFL Mobile deal and AT&T’s new ownership of Sunday Ticket thanks to its DirecTV purchase. Too bad the user numbers aren’t ever made public, because it’d be cool to see how many fans are streaming NFL action live on their phones.

We still haven’t been able to get an answer from the NFL or Verizon on another rumor we heard this summer, that RedZone action would be available for free to any fans inside NFL stadiums on game days. Many stadiums already have that ability via apps built by YinzCam, which has a rights agreement with the NFL to allow RedZone viewing in some stadiums. Maybe MSR readers across the country could chime in on whether or not they can see RedZone at their stadium, and we can crowd-source a list. Or we could all just watch more football. Stay tuned, because it’s our guess that this won’t be the last you hear on this front this season.

Remember: You can’t watch NFL Mobile live games on your tablet, because Verizon’s rights package only includes cellular phone-type devices. And be prepared for service to suck this Sunday, because these opening-day things never seem to work out for Verizon and the NFL. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

Comments

  1. Gary Kalbfleisch says:

    The NFL games still deduct from your data. You have to call Verizon and spend 40 minutes on hold to get them to fix it. Happened last two weekends. What a pain.

  2. Tommy C Moore says:

    I need to know for sure if I’m getting hit with data usage on nfl mobile?

  3. DANIEL HOUSE says:

    The app doesn’t work on my verizon cell enabled iPad Pro.
    Works great on my Samsung fone, but not the new iPad Pro….

    What gives?

    • NFL Mobile only streams games on CELL PHONE DEVICES per Verizon rights agreement with NFL. So no tablets for NFL Mobile.

    • if you took a second to read what they said above then you would of read the following…….”Remember: You can’t watch NFL Mobile live games on your tablet, because Verizon’s rights package only includes cellular phone-type devices. “

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just going through this myself,i used 8 gigs this past sunday,when talking to customer service they said i have to use the GO 90 app,that the commercials are wrong,this company is the bully on the block,im calling again right now to try and get my 8 gigs back,if not i will be an ATT customer by tomorrow.

  5. William christensen says:

    We need to contact an attorney and do a class action lawsuit they charged me 26 gigs (I live off grid no internet) this month alone and say I only get one gig of data to be used by live stream a month though comericals and adds (even in small print) say nothing about this limit

  6. I watched a game Sunday and half way the game my phone stopped playing it and said my data was low!!!!

  7. Every time I got to watch a game it says I have to sign-in and pay 50$ but I thought it was free very annoying

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