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What if Yahoo bought Rights to Live NFL Games On Mobile? Game changer.

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Nicholas Carlson says it won't happen, but it could have been big for Yahoo:

Back in 2010, the NFL signed a deal with Verizon that granted the mobile carrier mobile rights to live games and highlights. 

That deal is up for renewal soon. 

According to a source close to the NFL, Yahoo has quietly expressed interest in hearing how much it would cost to buy those rights for itself.

This source tells us the price Yahoo would have to pay is about $200 million per year.

That's an amount Yahoo could easily afford.

It has $4 billion in cash available, and access to much more thanks to smart investments in Yahoo Japan and Alibaba.

The deal would make a lot of sense for Yahoo, too.

Mayer is trying to reinvent Yahoo as a mobile-first company.

Her challenge is that while Yahoo can claim to reach a lot of people on mobile, it actually gets very little usage.

Worse yet, even that reach is a bit of a mirage.

It is due mainly to Yahoo branding on the weather application Apple pre-installs with every iPhone. But Apple built the app and The Weather Company supplies the data. Yahoo is just a weird man in the middle. Several sources at The Weather Company tell us its only a matter of time before the branding on that app changes. When that happens, Yahoo's mobile reach will shrink dramatically.

The point is: Yahoo needs to develop some mobile experiences that draw-in consumers.

Building live, prime time NFL games and higlights into Yahoo's fantasy football mobile app is kind of a no-brainer way to do that. Hundreds of millions of people watch the NFL. NBC's Sunday night games draw ~11 million people each week. 

Meanwhile, consumers are increasingly willing to watch "TV" on whatever screen it is available – 5 inch, 7 inch, 22 inch, or 55 inch.

Three thoughts:

1. Yahoo has less mobile engagement than I thought. I had no idea about the Weather app.

2. Then again, besides Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, some games, and a bunch of Google apps, I think the engagement of most mobile apps is very low. Hard game to get into.

3. So yeah, Yahoo licensing NFL makes a lot of sense to me.

Too bad it won't happen.

I think Yahoo is making a mistake here. It's a high risk move but could be a legitimate game changer if works.

Totally agree with you. It would be a bold move but also it could be huge for Yahoo.

Three years later, Twitter made the move and it's paying off:

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