Verizon Wireless will stream more than 100 live college football games, including 20 bowl games, to mobile handsets this season via its V CAST Mobile TV service. This is good news for sports fans, as leagues and TV networks have long limited Internet and mobile distribution to protect their huge broadcasting contracts. It’s also potentially good news for Verizon and Qualcomm’s MediaFlo subsidiary, which powers the mobile TV system — live sports makes their product a lot more attractive than feature films or sitcom reruns. To be sure, watching a football game on a tiny phone screen isn’t ideal. But both pro and college football attract a lot of ardent fans who will put up with all sorts of expense and inconvenience to track their teams.
Verizon’s mobile TV service requires both a $15-per-month subscription and a special handset capable of receiving TV broadcasts. Meaning the vast majority would-be college football watchers would need buy new phones to catch a game this fall. But as more phones support VCAST Mobile TV, and as the leagues and networks broadcast more live games to mobile devices, Verizon has a much more powerful weapon in its battle against the iPhone.