Yahoo has published the results of its first global live stream of a regular season National Football League (NFL) game. It delivered 33.6 million streams on the site across all devices, streams that were watched by 15.2 million people around the world.
On Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills competed from London’s Wembley Stadium in a contest that was aired exclusively on Yahoo. The live stream, which was available on Yahoo and Tumblr, is being touted as the first time users have been able to watch an NFL game globally without the need for cable, authentication, or TV.
According to Yahoo’s statistics, most of the streams delivered were to viewers in the U.S., with international viewers from across 185 countries at 33 percent. More than 460 million minutes were streamed across all devices, but how much of that was attributed to the auto-playing on Yahoo’s homepage remains unknown.
In June, both the NFL and Yahoo announced the deal to conduct a live stream of a game, though it was never going to be one of the biggest match-ups of the season. At that time, Yahoo’s chief executive, Marissa Mayer, said in a statement that this partnership “marks a significant change in the way users can access this amazing content. The NFL and Yahoo have both long engaged football fans around the world. Our partnership provides the ultimate football experience — with digital availability, designed for the modern fan.”
Holding exclusive rights to broadcast a season of NFL games can cost a network billions of dollars in a multi-year deal, so even the single game Yahoo aired was likely not cheap. Industry experts have told Re/code that the league’s deal with Yahoo was worth at least $20 million, including exclusive ad rights for the game. The company said that more than 30 brands participated in what it described as a “sold out event.”
The game’s online broadcast seemed to run okay overall, though there were issues for some viewers, according to reports. Complaints ranged from frozen screens and absent video feed to irritating beeps and stuttering sound. However, these issues may have affected a relatively small number of viewers. Yahoo touted its performance, saying that it provided an average rebuffering ratio of nearly 1 percent, “while delivering over 8.5 petabytes” to viewers.
Update: This post has been updated to better reflect the how the 15 million viewers compare against the NFL’s regular season viewership. The average viewer/minute audience was 2.36 million which is lower than the 10 to 20 million viewers per minute games broadcast on TV typically get.