Facebook has signed a new deal with the NFL to stream highlights of NL matches throughout the season.
The NFL will publish official highlights from all 256 regular season games as well as the playoffs and Super Bowl globally on Facebook. In addition, NFL Media, the League’s owned and operated media division, will distribute uniquely packaged content from its award-winning production arm, NFL Films, including NFL Turning Point and Sound FX and NFL Game Recaps each week.
The multi-year deal marks Facebook’s growing push to expand its new “Watch” platform, not just by focusing on funded video, but by harnessing the popularity of sports.
Indeed, the NFL has emerged as one of the biggest players in the online video arena, with Amazon recently inking a deal to stream live matches on Thursday nights – a deal that replaced NFL’s previous agreement to do the same with Twitter. Kicking off last week, the Green Bay Packers beating the Chicago Bears 35-14 on 28th September was seen on an average minute audience basis by 15.1 million viewers across all platforms, with Amazon Prime Video reaching a total of 1.9 million combined viewers worldwide. During the match alone, 1.6 million worldwide viewers initiated a stream on Amazon Prime Video, while the average worldwide audience watching for at least 30 seconds on Amazon Prime Video was 372,000, with each viewer watching an average of 55 minutes.
This is an improvement on Twitter’s figures last year, when 243,000 people tuned in on average per minute via Twitter, watching 22 minutes of the game.
Facebook, meanwhile, is keen to be a force to be reckoned with as well, and if its Watch platform can gain traction, its large user base certainly gives it a reach to rival Amazon. While it missed out on the live-streaming rights, it will be hoping to place itself in the next strongest position with its post-broadcast content.
“We have millions of fans on Facebook, and they continue to demonstrate an incredible appetite for NFL content,” says Hans Schroeder, Chief Operating Officer of NFL Media. “We’re excited to bring a compelling set of highlights and shows from the NFL and our Clubs to our fans on Facebook.”
“We’re excited for Watch to become a destination for NFL fans to catch up on the latest on-field action and connect with one another,” adds Dan Reed, Facebook’s Head of Global Sports Partnerships. “These full game recaps and shows will deliver comprehensive coverage while enabling the active NFL fan communities on Facebook to watch and debate the top storylines from each week.”
What exactly is streaming?
NFL Turning Point will document the drama, excitement, and strategy leading up to, during, and after the turning points of some of the biggest games in the NFL each week. Each episode on Watch will include a breakdown of how plays are developed, player and coach comments that provide context, and unique perspectives for each featured game.
Sound FX, meanwhile, will use audio wires placed on NFL players each week to provide fans an inside and intimate look and sound of the top players in the game. Fans get to see players who are mic’d up in each episode on Watch when they are inside the huddle, performing on the field, and all the strategy and discussion from the sidelines.
These will be streamed alongside the highlights on Watch in the US, while Facebook users outside of America will also be able to tune in by following the individual NFL Turning Point, Sound FX and NFL Game Recaps Facebook pages, while the highlights will be available on the NFL Facebook page and the pages of its 32 Clubs.