Photo via Tom Newby/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
YouTube announced Thursday that it is renewing its strategic partnership with the NFL, adding full-length games to its current NFL channel lineup of game previews, in-game highlights, post-game recaps, news, analysis, and fantasy football advice.
YouTube’s new lineup of full-length NFL games won’t be live telecasts. The video-hosting platform will be posting three of the most memorable games for each of the NFL’s 32 clubs—a total of 96 games—to the NFL’s official YouTube channel prior to the start of the 2016 season.
YouTube’s social video competitors have taken a slightly different approach to the football game. Last fall, Yahoo paid a reported $20 million for the exclusive live broadcast rights for a single NFL game. Although it received 33.6 million streams, some doubted the wisdom of the investment.
Last month, Twitter scored the livestreaming rights for 10 Thursday Night Football games, beating out competitors (including Amazon, Facebook and Verizon’s Go90 platform) with a $10 million bid that was $5 million less than the best offer.
YouTube’s renewed deal with the NFL will increase the overall amount of the league’s content on the platform, including game highlights uploaded to YouTube while games are in progress. It also improved the searchability of NFL content. Going forward, a Google search for an NFL team will display official NFL video, along with related news and information, all displayed to the user in a single box at the top of the search results. Kickoff time and broadcast information for every NFL game will also be prominently displayed in Google search.
“This expansion of our partnership will make it easier than ever for the millions of highly engaged avid and casual fans on YouTube and Google to discover and access an even greater variety of some of the most valuable content in the sports and entertainment business,” Hans Schroeder, the SVP of media strategy, business development, and sales for the NFL, said in a statement. “Our fans continue to demonstrate an insatiable appetite for NFL digital video content online.”