On Sunday, October 25, the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars made history by playing in the first NFL football game that was available for streaming worldwide for free on the internet. The two teams played in Wembley Stadium in London as part of the NFL International Series. Earlier this year the Miami Dolphins took on the New York Jets in London on October 4. The Detroit Lions will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in London on November 1.
In addition to the football game, fans in London were able to attend an NFL Fan Rally in Trafalgar Square before the Jets-Giants game, complete with the players, cheerleaders, and NFL legends.
Before the Bills-Jags game, fans were able to visit a decked out Regent Street, which was closed for the events. There were games, historical displays, musical performance, cheerleaders, players, and coaches.
The Bills and the Jaguars were chosen to be part of the NFL’s streaming experiment because both teams have struggled in recent years.
The Bills have missed the playoffs for 15 consecutive seasons, the NFL’s longest active playoff drought. They also lost four consecutive Super Bowls in the early nineties (I was born the day after the third consecutive loss, it’s tough to be a Bills fan).
The Jaguars have had losing records six out of the last seven years and have been the worst in the league, with only 10 wins and 44 losses, over the last four seasons. Fans in Buffalo and Jacksonville were able to watch the games locally on television, but most fans watched the game live on Yahoo!.
The live stream had an average viewership of 2.36 million people per minute. Since the game was on live locally, the streaming numbers don’t tell the full story. About 15.2 million viewers were exposed to the live stream, which started playing automatically on Yahoo!. Approximately 33% of viewership came from countries outside of the United States. Viewership would likely have been greater in the game had kicked later. It started at 2:30PM in London, which is 9:30AM EST. The Jaguars beat the Bills 34-31.
The Lions will take on the Chiefs at 9:30AM this Sunday on FOX