NFL Audio Pass
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (September 2010)|
NFL Audio Pass (formerly NFL Field Pass) is a subscription Internet radio out-of-market sports package provided by the National Football League that provides live and archived audio broadcasts of NFL games throughout the regular NFL season and playoffs, priced either per month or per season.
Prior to 2002, NFL.com offered free broadcasts of its NFL games by special agreement with approximately 20 of its member teams. However, about the same time as the first Internet radio bust, the NFL decided to join the RealOne SuperPass system, a subscription multimedia service that provided various channels from major broadcast providers for a fee (hence the word "Pass" in the name). RealNetworks no longer manages NFL Audio Pass.
NFL Audio Pass provides audio feeds from the flagship English-language radio stations of all 32 NFL teams, broadcasting every preseason, regular season, and postseason game. To direct listeners to the service, the NFL has banned local affiliates from streaming NFL games on the Internet, although several stations still broadcast the games anyway and enforcement of this ban is inconsistent.
NFL Audio Pass coverage of the Super Bowl is unique. Because the NFL only allows one station to air a local broadcast for each team in the contest, NFL Audio Pass and Sirius Satellite Radio are the only options for those who want to listen to their home team but live outside of the flagship station's listening range. In addition to the team broadcasts, the NFL Audio Pass Super Bowl package includes various foreign language broadcasts, live feeds from the stadium PA announcer, archives, and "press box" stat play-by-play.
In the past, from spring until August 1, NFL Field Pass opened up its archives to "free preview." All games from the past years were available for free during this window, as is live coverage of the NFL Draft and other live multimedia. This was not the case in 2009, though the free preview returned in 2010. Until its demise in 2007, NFL Europe live video broadcasts were also available on the service.
Prior to 2009, the national radio broadcasts on the Westwood One network (including the Pro Bowl, a Westwood One exclusive) were not available on NFL Field Pass. As part of a renegotiation of the broadcast contract, national Westwood One games, including all prime-time games, the Pro Bowl, and all playoff games, became available on Field Pass beginning in the 2009 NFL season. (Westwood One's Sunday afternoon doubleheader broadcasts, which are negotiated with individual teams separately from the national package, remain unavailable on NFL Audio Pass, as do those of the rival Sports USA Radio Network and Compass Media Networks.) Spanish-language broadcasts from Univision Radio and United Stations Radio Networks are also now available on NFL Audio Pass, although they are available for free on the Univision-NFL joint project, NFLatino.com.
NFL Field Pass and Game Pass during the 2009 season had a major outage on the season's opening Sunday (September 13) which left its subscribers without access to the service.
NFL Field Pass was renamed NFL Audio Pass prior to the 2010 season.