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Published on October 15th, 2017 | by Brad Gibson

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NFL looks to boost reach to millennials, cord cutters

As the National Football League enhances its online presence, it’s continuing to re-examine its future reach to millennials and cord cutters, according to New England Patriots owner and chairman of the NFL’s broadcast committee, Robert Kraft.

Kraft told USA TODAY Sports, “Millennials basically watch everything on their mobile devices and don’t watch TV…We’re exploring the best ways to connect with that.”

Kraft declined to go into detail on exactly what the league plans to do to make the NFL more cord-cutting friendly, but its recent agreements show much of the focus is on distribution through various social media platforms like Yahoo, Amazon Prime Video, through the NFL Mobile package for Verizon customers and its own Apple TV app, NFL Now.

His comments come just weeks after the NFL and Facebook signed a two-year deal to bring NFL game highlights and exclusive shows to the social platform’s over 2 billion monthly users. Facebook will host highlights for all 256 regular season games, in addition to the playoffs and the Super Bowl, with users able to watch highlights of any game shortly after it ends, effective immediately.

This was also the first year the Thursday Night NFL game has been streamed on Amazon Prime Video. According to the NFL, an estimated 391,000 viewers watched the October 6th broadcast for an average of 50 minutes and a total of 1.5 million customers initiated a stream and watched part of the game.

Even so, NFL viewership declined last year and isn’t faring well this season either. Average viewership for the NFL fell 8% year-over-year in 2016, from 17.9 million to 16.5 million, and NFL ratings are down double-digits so far this season.

There is some concern the NFL could be pricing itself out of the budget of a younger audience and cord cutters on tight wallets. For instance, the NFL is requiring those interested in subscribing to its live RedZone channel on Sunday’s to also subscribe to its NFL Network through various sports channel bundles offered by cable, satellite or streaming services.

Not well explained on its website or even through providers, RedZone costs $10 a month as part of Sling TVs Sports Extra bundle of 10 channels. But to get RedZone, subscribers must pay for the more expensive Sling Blue package, which includes the NFL Network, for $25 a month. With the NFL regular season running for four months, the cost to watch both channels would be $140.

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About the Author

has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years.



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