Fox to Stream Super Bowl Free to U.S. Viewers, NFC Playoff Games Streaming Behind Pay-TV Wall

Friday January 3, 2014 7:09 PM PST by Jordan Golson
Fox SportsFox Sports has announced that it will stream all its NFC playoff games and the Super Bowl online, though only the Super Bowl will be available to iOS users through the Fox Sports Go app. Fox's playoff games do not appear to be available for streaming via the iOS app.

However, though the Super Bowl -- along with CBS' AFC playoff coverage -- will be viewable by all viewers without requiring any authentication, Fox's NFC playoff games will require authentication through one of several cable companies.

The network will carry the 49ers v. Packers wild card game on Sunday at 4:40PM EST, plus the NFC divisional games at Seattle and Carolina on January 11 and 12, plus the NFC Championship game on January 19.

The NFC playoff games will require authentication through certain cable services including Comcast, AT&T U-Verse, Cablevision and several others. The NFL is hugely popular in the United States, with NFL-related content accounting for 9 of the top 10 most-watched TV programs of 2013.

The Super Bowl will kick off on Sunday February 2 at 6:30PM EST from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Fox Sports Go is a free download through the App Store. [Direct Link]

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 12 months ago
Seems silly NOT to allow streaming of playoff games. Simply show the ads.

Only thing I can figure is the NFC playoffs have more local ad spots that wouldn't be nationally covered whereas the Superbowl would have very little local ads.
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 12 months ago
Pay TV wall for playoff games? But aren't all of the playoff games on over the air antenna channels? What am I missing?
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 12 months ago
Everyone's who posting is thinking about this from a viewer standpoint which I would expect. But as I read the original story, as someone who used to work at a non-FOX owned FOX affiliate, the first thing I thought of is the big "**** you" letter I would send my network if I was still there.

Of the approximately 210 FOX affiliates in the country, only about 10 are actually owned by the network. The other 200 are owned by other parent companies. (BTW...the same is roughly true for CBS, NBC, and ABC). Those stations make their revenue via locally placed ads. They don't share in any Superbowl ad revenue sold by the network. In fact, those stations pay the network an annual fee to the network for the rights to air that network's shows, including the Superbowl when it's available.

As you can imagine, the Superbowl is a revenue Christmas for the local station except that that comes only every 3 years. If the network decides to bypass the affiliate altogether and allow the content for free on the Internet, well, that should prompt that **** you letter I mentioned earlier from the stations.

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The BBC who previously held the OTA rights had streamed the past five Super Bowls for free. So welcome to 1999, Fox.


The UK charges people a TV tax. People in the US do not pay one. Apples and oranges.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 12 months ago
Okay, can we have this for the World Cup games now? I missed the game where Italy almost lost to Armenia because it wasn't shown anywhere on ESPN for some reason.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 12 months ago

Pay TV wall for playoff games? But aren't all of the playoff games on over the air antenna channels? What am I missing?


"Fox is making the NFC playoff games available only in a “TV Everywhere” model as part of its broader strategy to ensure it can continue to collect retrans fees from cable and satellite distributors — who have bridled at broadcasters making their content freely available online."


That's why. Money.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 12 months ago
The writing used in this article has given me a headache. Someone rushed this to the presses.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 12 months ago
Thanks Deannnn. Good info to think about and makes some sense as to how and why.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 12 months ago

Okay, can we have this for the World Cup games now? I missed the game where Italy almost lost to Armenia because it wasn't shown anywhere on ESPN for some reason.


Unfortunately, nobody cares about the World Cup in the US.

What I do is get a good one-month VPN subscription and watch on BBC's site.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 12 months ago

Seems silly NOT to allow streaming of playoff games. Simply show the ads.

Only thing I can figure is the NFC playoffs have more local ad spots that wouldn't be nationally covered whereas the Superbowl would have very little local ads.


FOX only makes a small percentage of their profit from ads. The rest comes from retransmission fees, which are fees that cable companies pay FOX in order to have the rights to provide it to you via your cable subscription. FOX then gets paid per subscriber, so it's in their best interest for as many people to have cable as possible.

This is true of all major broadcast networks in the US, and it's single handedly why live streaming of these networks online is (mostly) not available. This is also why the major nets are suing Aereo... they're saying if Comcast has to pay FOX to distribute the channel, why doesn't Aereo?

This kind of stuff fascinates me. I actually work for one of the major networks (not FOX), but I'm entry-level, not high enough to do anything about it yet. Someday!
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 12 months ago

Everyone's who posting is thinking about this from a viewer standpoint which I would expect. But as I read the original story, as someone who used to work at a non-FOX owned FOX affiliate, the first thing I thought of is the big "**** you" letter I would send my network if I was still there.

Of the approximately 210 FOX affiliates in the country, only about 10 are actually owned by the network. The other 200 are owned by other parent companies. (BTW...the same is roughly true for CBS, NBC, and ABC). Those stations make their revenue via locally placed ads. They don't share in any Superbowl ad revenue sold by the network. In fact, those stations pay the network an annual fee to the network for the rights to air that network's shows, including the Superbowl when it's available.

As you can imagine, the Superbowl is a revenue Christmas for the local station except that that comes only every 3 years. If the network decides to bypass the affiliate altogether and allow the content for free on the Internet, well, that should prompt that **** you letter I mentioned earlier from the stations.


I doubt very many people are going to stream playoff games and the super bowl. Not enough to hurt any affiliates. You're making too many assumptions. You can't assume someone who streams a game would have otherwise watched a local broadcast.
Rating: 1 Votes

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