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Apple, Google in talks for rights to stream three London NFL games

The National Football League is in talks with companies including Apple and Google to stream three games due to be played in London, England next season, a report said on Friday.

The league is interested in streaming more London games after last year's experimental Internet broadcast run by Yahoo proved a success, two sources told Reuters. Approximately 15.2 million people tuned into a single London game streamed in October 2015.

Although anyone who watched for more than 3 seconds was counted as a viewer, and the stream started playing automatically on some sites, an average of 2.36 million people were watching at any one time. Yahoo ended up selling out its ad slots after dropping the price of a commercial from $200,000 to under $100,000.

Neither Apple nor Google have previously live-streamed NFL content. While Google would presumably show games on YouTube, it's not clear how Apple would handle a broadcast, since it doesn't have any first-party apps geared towards streaming video. It could presumably develop a new app, or simply host a stream on its website.

The NFL has meanwhile put its Thursday night football package up for bid, and should announce a decision by next month's Super Bowl, one of the sources said.

That point is significant, since Apple is allegedly vying for those rights as well. If it successfully bought access, it would be on a non-exclusive basis, potentially allowing companies like Amazon, Google, and/or Yahoo to stream games as well.