CBS has announced that it will livestream two upcoming regular season NFL games for the first time in 2015, for free and without the need for authentication, a subscription, or a cable provider. The move expands CBS's online coverage of the sport, as the network will also stream four playoff games and the Super Bowl itself, live on its website, and on devices including Xbox One, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku players.
Yahoo will also stream a regular season game in 2015
The games in question will take place between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins on October 4th, and between the Carolina Panthers and the Dallas Cowboys on November 26th, Thanksgiving Day. CBS isn't the only source offering a regular season game for free — Yahoo has also agreed to a deal with the NFL to stream an October 25th game between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars online. Recode reports that Yahoo paid around $20 million for the rights to broadcast the game, which takes place in London, and sees the deal as a way to flex its muscle for advertisers.
This year's season won't mark the first time a regular season game will be available to stream online — Fox Sports streamed 101 NFL games through its website and tablet app last year — but these match-ups will be the first to be available for free to everyone. As networks such as CBS and Fox have NFL rights locked up until 2022, games won't start appearing on YouTube any time soon, but if the networks themselves are experimenting more with digital distribution, we may see more regular season games appear online as the years go on.