You won’t need a TV this year to watch Jacksonville Jaguars preseason games.
The live streams mean that fans outside of Jacksonville will be able to watch the games.
“This season, the NFL has allowed us to expand access to our preseason game broadcasts via a digital stream, affording the Jaguars the opportunity to connect with more fans on multiple platforms and in more than one language,” said Jaguars President Mark Lamping in an email to WJCT News.
The Jaguars have been playing one home game in London since 2012. “The demand for NFL football continues to grow internationally, and the Jaguars have benefited from our aggressive support of the league’s global movement,” said Lamping.
Fans tuning in to the stream will see the same broadcast as those watching the live telecast on either WJAX TV-47 or WFOX TV-30, which are the official Jaguars game broadcasters in Jacksonville.
Jaguars Senior Correspondent Brian Sexton will call the play-by-play alongside former Jaguars RB Fred Taylor. Action News Jax Sports Director Brent Martineau and Digital Reporter and Host Ashlyn Sullivan will report from the sidelines.
The move by the Jaguars shows the growing importance of digital platforms outside of traditional broadcast and cable companies.
John Kosner was ESPN's executive vice president of digital and print media before starting his digital and sports consulting company, Kosner Media. Kosner says streaming represents a potential threat to traditional local and national TV viewership or distribution deals, but not in the near future.
“While it is threatening at least conceptually, the vast amount of money is still being delivered on traditional platforms. Streaming makes up a few percentage points of the overall viewing," said Kosner, adding, “I suspect the Jaguars and their local rights holders are trying to move towards a win-win, where everybody can get what they want most out of it."
Streaming's continued growth doesn't necessarily mean traditional broadcasters will face trouble down the road. The next generation of TV broadcasting standards - known as ASTC 3.0 - will open new opportunities when it comes to sports, according to David Deeley at the Universirty of North Florida. Deeley is an instructor and the executive producer of ESPN's UNF sports content.
“The new standard will allow TV stations to really reinvent themselves and use the spectrum that they currently broadcast their video signal to create two-way interaction with audiences, and on the business side what makes that very attractive to them is that they will be able to target advertising,” said Deeley.
ASTC 3.0 will also allow broadcast viewers to receive 4K signals over-the-air, which allows for higher definition video. Currently 4K programming is available on a limited basis only through streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube as well as with 4K DVD players.
The digital stream of Jaguars preseason games in Mexico will feature Spanish language commentary, courtesy of the Jaguars' new radio partner Tico Sports. The Spanish language broadcast will feature play-by-play announcer Javier Carrero and color analyst Victor Cora.
The Jaguars' preseason schedule begins Thursday, Aug. 9 at 7 p.m., with the Saints at home before the Jaguars travel to Minnesota to play the Vikings on Saturday, Aug. 18, at 1 p.m.
The Jaguars will return home for a matchup with the Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. and close out the preseason at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m.