For the first time ever, the NFL's Super Bowl will be streamed live online and via mobile phones, the NFL said Tuesday. Super Bowl 46 will be streamed online in addition to the two wild card playoff games on Jan. 7 and the Pro Bowl on Jan. 29. Super Bowl 46 will be held in Indianapolis on February 5, 2012 and is annually the most-watched television event of the year.
The live TV streams will be available via both the NFL's and NBC's websites. Additionally, Verizon's NFL mobile app will also provide live streaming coverage of the game.
According to the NFL, the Super Bowl's Internet TV live stream will offer multiple camera angles, in-game highlights, and live stats they currently offer via their current online options. The online TV streams also feature DVR controls so the user can create and watch instant replays at will.
NBC has streamed "Sunday Night Football" live online the past few years so they have some experience in meeting the needs of the large NFL audience. However, the Super Bowl presents one of the largest television attractions of the year with over 100 million viewers in the U.S. alone. It will be a challenge for the online networks to handle the traffic they could see.
Additionally, we aren't sure yet whether there will be any geographical restrictions to watching the Super Bowl live online via the league's website or NBC's. The online broadcast could gain a huge audience of users outside of North America who want to watch the game live. In Europe, the broadcast will be in the early hours of the morning.
"Whether it’s just for a quarter if somebody has to run out to the store to get something they forgot, now they can stay connected to the game,” Hans Schroeder, the NFL’s senior vice president of media strategy and development, told The Associated Press. "With such a big television audience, it will be interesting to see the expanded reach."
Streaming the NFL's Super Bowl live online will be a good litmus test if the league is looking at launching more online availability for the future. Naturally, if they can handle the Super Bowl broadcast, they can handle the regular season as well. The question is whether this is a sign that the NFL will be embracing more live streaming online like the NBA and MLB. I'm sure a lot of people who don't have cable or satellite would gladly pay to watch the NFL Network games live online.