The Baltimore Ravens kick off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London on Sunday at 9:30 am ET.
Normally a Ravens-Jaguars game wouldn’t be worth writing about, but the NFL and Verizon are hoping things will be different this time: Verizon is paying the NFL $21 million to stream the game worldwide.
That means it will be very, very easy to watch the game, for free, as long as you have a decent internet connection. Viewers around the world can watch via the NFL’s own site, as well as many properties Verizon now owns, including: Yahoo Sports, Go90, Yahoo, AOL, HuffPost, Tumblr, NFL Mobile, Complex and RatedRed.
If you are a regular human being, you may be very interested to see how the Ravens and Jaguars players respond to Donald Trump, who has essentially dared NFL players to protest at games this week.
And in case you’re wondering: Yes, they play the “Star Spangled Banner” before the NFL’s London games:
Here’s what Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith and some of his teammates did during a Jacksonville/Baltimore game last year:
And if you are the kind of human being who pays attention to the business of sports and media, you will be interested to see how aggressively Verizon promotes the game.
Will it autoplay the game across its properties, like Yahoo did when it streamed a London game two years ago and showed it to anyone who came anywhere near a Yahoo site or service whether they wanted to see it or not?
You’ll also want to see what Verizon’s final numbers look like on Monday. Two years ago, Yahoo ended up drawing the equivalent of 2.3 million viewers for its London game, which is a fraction of what the NFL gets for a game that gets broadcast across the U.S.
On the one hand, that’s not awful considering it’s a low-wattage game that will air when a good half of the U.S. is asleep. On the other hand, it was broadcast around the world, so ...
It’s also worth considering that the Thursday night games that Twitter streamed around the world last year drew an audience of less than 250,000 viewers per game. Twitter said publicly that the games reached the viewers it expected to reach; privately I’ve heard that they were underwhelmed.
Full context: The NFL — as well as other sports leagues around the world — are expecting big internet/tech/infrastructure companies like Verizon and Facebook to pay big money for the rights to their games over the next few years.
But at some point those companies may want to see evidence that there’s a big audience that wants to watch this stuff over the internet.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.