Confirmed: Verizon Stream Pass to offer free, zero-rated live sports via go90, including NBA, soccer and NFL

Verizon today confirmed to FierceWireless it will offer “hassle free” live sports video streams through its go90 app under an offering called Stream Pass. “Unmatched access to a thousand live soccer matches, football games, and exclusive NBA content. No subscriptions. No low quality streams. All in one place and without using your data on the go90 app,” a Verizon webpage reads.

“Customers can enjoy all of these games through go90 without using their wireless data,” a Verizon spokesperson wrote to FierceWireless. “They can also cast soccer from go90 to the TV with Belkin Miracast, Google Chromecast, or Apple TV. Live sports is the debut offer from Stream Pass. More Stream Pass content offerings will be rolling out to go90 users in the future.”

Specifically, Verizon said Stream Pass offers:

  • NBA League Pass: Stream Pass includes a full 2016-17 NBA League Pass subscription for those with Verizon Plan sizes L and higher.
  • Professional Football: All five weekly games, including live local and primetime professional football games on their smartphones via go90.
  • Professional Soccer: Stream Pass offers 1,000 live soccer matches per year from LaLiga, Serie A, Ligue 1, CONMEBOL and CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers, Liga MX and NASL via beIN SPORTS and Univision Deportes broadcast of Liga MX, the most popular soccer league in the U.S. through go90.

Verizon said that new and existing Verizon customers who have plans other than Verizon L, XII, XL or XXL can purchase a full season of NBA League Pass for $99.50 through go90. Non Verizon go90 users (those who access it from other networks like AT&T and T-Mobile) are also eligible for $99.50 pricing, but Verizon said that “other carrier data charges may apply.”

NBA’s League Pass provides online access to all of the league’s games, and typically costs $199 for a year’s access. Verizon’s “Large” plan costs $70 per month and provides 8 GB of wireless data, plus 2 GB of data per line.

Verizon confirmed the offering will be zero rated for all Verizon customers. Zero-rated data allows users to access video streams without the data from those streams counting against their monthly data buckets.

The offering from Verizon is noteworthy as it provides live sports for free via the internet, which is a rarity in the online video industry. It’s also clearly an attempt by Verizon to increase interest in its go90 app, which the carrier hopes to generate revenues from via advertising and, potentially, subscriptions.

Verizon already launched zero-rated video streaming through its NFL Mobile app last month.

Indeed, Verizon's new Stream Pass service builds on a number of announcements Verizon has made over the past few months related to sports content, and essentially puts much of that content under the go90 umbrella. For example, Verizon last year reportedly struck a deal with the NBA to have exclusive NBA digital content appear in its go90 application as part of a deal rumored to be worth $400 million.

Then, in February, Verizon announced that the NBA League Pass would be available to go90 users for $50.00.

Verizon's new Stream Pass announcement also comes just a day after the NBA announced its new NBA Mobile View for its League Pass, which scales down game broadcasts for smaller phone screens.

Further, Dish Network this week became the first pay-TV operator to sign onto “NBA Team Pass,” a new service that unbundles single teams and lets subscribers watch all their out-of-market games throughout the regular season. 

The news helps underscore the NBA's efforts to cash in on the trend toward a la carte, mobile sports viewing.

As for NFL content, Verizon has long had an agreement to offer NFL content through its NFL Mobile app. The app was previously available for an extra monthly subscription, but in 2015 Verizon made the app free to all subscribers.

Of course, Verizon isn't the only carrier to play in the zero-rated space.  AT&T recently began zero-rating content from DirecTV’s TV Everywhere apps, and earlier this year Sprint enabled customers to watch every live match of the Copa América Centenario soccer tournament on their phones without incurring data charges.

T-Mobile was the first U.S. carrier to experiment with the model with the launches of Music Freedom for streaming music and Binge On for streaming data. Verizon also offers FreeBee Data, which enables content providers or other parties to pay the cost of delivering content and services.

Article updated Oct. 25 with additional information.