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NEW YORK – For the first time in 46 years, the Super Bowl will be officially live streamed. The NFL will make the big game, as well as this season’s Pro Bowl and NBC’s broadcasts of Wild Card playoff games, available on the NFL and NBC web sites through Verizon’s NFL Mobile app.
NBC and the league already live stream NBC’s Sunday Night Football. And CBS Sports has been live streaming the NCAA’s March Madness (with a “boss button”) for several years.
Still, it is an unprecedented step for the biggest television event in the country that has drawn in excess of 100 million viewers for the last two years.
Each year, the NFL and the broadcast network that has the rights to the Super Bowl fend off rogue sites that attempt to live stream it. Last year, the government seized the web addresses of nearly a dozen sites that promised to live stream the game.
The move is a sign of a tipping point in viewing habits, as more consumers watch television on mobile devices including the iPad. But it also underscores the philosophical change at NBC Sports, which in recent years has been the target of criticism from diehard sports fans for tape delaying events, especially the Olympics.
After the departure of longtime NBC Sports & Olympics chief Dick Ebersol last May, new NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus promised much more live streaming and has said that every event of the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in London will be live on one platform or another.
The NFL Mobile app will offer additional camera angels as well as live stats. The 2012 Super Bowl is Feb. 5 from Indianapolis.
NBC, CBS and Fox last week finalized lucrative new contracts with the NFL for close to $1 billion each and that include additional digital rights.
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