NEW YORK – The National Football League plans to broadcast Thursday and Saturday games live over the Internet to some customers of Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and DirecTV Group Inc (DTV), NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Wednesday.
The NFL said Web the first broadcast would be available December 7 to subscribers of Verizon's Fios high-speed Internet service, and customers of DirecTV who signed up for Verizon's Web service under their joint marketing arrangement.
"I think consumers are changing," Goodell said at the Reuters Media Summit in New York.
He said fans who watch games on their living room televisions also want additional football data and entertainment on their computers and on cell phones .
The NFL will test the Web service internally for this Thursday's game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals.
It plans to kick off the service for consumers with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns game on December 7.
The league also plans to roll out the Web service, which includes audio from players and coaches as well as new camera angles on the game, to other cable operators that also carry its television network, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
Verizon said in October it had 118,000 television customers at the end of the third quarter. The NFL's own network channel has around 41 million subscribers.
Verizon said that nearly 80 percent of its TV customers also use its broadband data service.
NFL already sends some material from its TV channel and game statistics and video highlights to Sprint Nextel Corp. (S ) cell phones. But Goodell said he does not see large audiences looking at full live games on cell phones.
"It is a three-hour experience," he said. "Frankly, it is counter to what we are seeing. People want to see it on the wide screen."
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