NFL To Present Jaguars-Bills In London As Digital-Only Game Broadcast In 2015

In a further step towards achieving its goal of absolute world sports dominance, the National Football League has announced that they will present a football game during the upcoming 2015 season that will air only on the Internet.

NFLDigitalOnly

Monday, at the annual league owner's meetings being held in Phoenix, the NFL made the decision to sell the rights to the October 4th contest between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills to a digital distribution company. The Week 7 game, one of three NFL matches that will take place in London during 2015, will begin at 9:30AM EST. For fans in the local Jacksonville and Buffalo markets, the Jaguars-Bills matchup will be broadcast on over-the-air networks. It will not, however, be available via DirecTV's Sunday Ticket, which airs all NFL games across the United States.

Far from being a simple curiosity, the 9:30AM start ensures that Jaguars-Bills will be the only game in town...that is, in every town, as it will have a clear field with no other NFL games fighting for market share.

The media outlet for Jaguars-Bills has yet to be determined, though the NFL will no doubt look to place the game on a digital platform from where it can it be accessed by all potential interested viewers, as well as those who might want to catch the game stream via mobile device.

The NFL's move is a curious play for the league, marking the first time a national broadcast of a game will take place solely on a digital medium. It reflects the NFL's history, too, of moving into new forms of broadcast distribution as they begin to take on critical mass, first seen as long ago as 1987 when the league began broadcasting a set of games on ESPN, which as a cable-only network at that time had a reach limited to roughly 50% of the country.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, sports-media consultant Lee Berke said that he believes that with the sale of the Jaguars-Bills game from London the NFL's goal is to start a relationship between the league and well-positioned distributor that might some day look to purchase a slate of games. “This league (the NFL) has been very adept at finding the new players in the industry and getting them involved.”

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