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NFL extends with OverTier for Game Pass

The National Football League has signed a multiyear extension with Bruin Sports Capital’s OverTier streaming service to continue operating the NFL Game Pass subscription video service, but on a sharply expanded global basis. 

OverTier, developed two years ago as a joint venture with international communications services group WPP, had previously operated NFL Game Pass specifically in Europe for the league during the 2017-18 seasons. The new term expands OverTier’s license to run the OTT offering in 181 countries and territories, with key territories now coming into the fold including Australia, Brazil, Japan, and India, among others. 

NFL Game Pass serves as a key distribution point for NFL game content outside of the US and Canada as the league, like many other US sports properties, actively seeks to expand its international operations.

Financial terms for the extended and expanded pact were not disclosed, though it is based in part on sharing of subscription revenue. Bruin-owned Deltatre will be the back-end streaming technology provider for NFL Game Pass, while WPP-owned agency Two Circles will lead data analytics and marketing for the enterprise.

The expansion of OverTier’s presence sees the company take NFL Game Pass rights for certain territories previously held by DAZN or Endeavor Streaming.

“OverTier has a proven track record of innovation in Europe, and we look forward to unlocking significant potential across other markets,” said Chris Halpin, NFL chief strategy and growth officer.

In addition to NFL games themselves, the NFL Game Pass subscription offers access to NFL Red Zone, and extensive content from the NFL Network and archival material from NFL Films.

During the first contract period, OverTier helped drive in 2018 a 46 percent increase in regular-season viewership for NFL Game Pass in Europe compared to the year prior. More granular data showed the Green Bay Packers were the most-watched individual team in Europe on NFL Game Pass, while the Cleveland Browns had the largest increase in user consumption compared to 2017.

The new contract term also calls for a series of content and accessibility expansions for subscribers, including the ability to access NFL Game Pass through Samsung and LG smart TVs, and the release of 17 new installments of its in-depth football strategy series “NFL Game Pass: Film Sessions.”

“We look forward to applying our unique model to these expanded global markets and with the league develop more fans and opportunities worldwide,” said Sam Jones, OverTier chief executive. 

The renewal and expansion of the NFL-OverTier relationship shows a marked turnaround from a rather turbulent beginning in 2017 that saw a series of technical issues and falsified user reviews aimed at countering negative sentiment around NFL Game Pass at that time.