Facebook and the National Football League have signed an agreement spanning several years which will see game highlights posted on the social media platform throughout the season. Under the deal highlights from all the regular season games numbering 256 will be made available. Additionally playoffs as well as the Super Bowl will also be featured. Terms of the deal were, however, not disclosed but it is understood that Facebook will recoup the money it is paying the NFL through ads.
The National Football League’s media division, NFL Media will also distribute content obtained from NFL Films on Watch, a new video platform that was recently launched by Facebook. Some of the posts that have been featured include ‘NFL Game Recaps’, ‘Sound FX’ and ‘NFL Turning Point’. According to a spokesperson for the National Football League, while the content is not being made expressly for Facebook it is being specifically packaged for the platform.
“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,” Dan Reed, the chief of global sports partnerships at Facebook, said.
The first time Facebook and the National Football League teamed up was in 2014 when game highlights were delivered to the platform and they were accompanied by post-roll adverts. Both organizations were united in their opposition to pre-roll adverts running prior to the featured content. The program was ended in 2015.
While Facebook has been considering such a deal for years, the social media giant was handicapped by the fact that it hadn’t found a way yet of monetizing the service. Facebook is now hoping the mid-roll advert format which cannot be skipped will be a game changer.
The Palo Alto, California-based social media giant has lately increased its interests in sports streaming. Earlier in the year Facebok entered a deal with Major League Baseball with a view to streaming several games from the league. At the beginning of the month Facebook also bid to stream India Premier League cricket matches but lost out.
The Facebook/NFL deal comes at a time when television ratings for the league are falling. During the NFL’s second week ratings fell by 16% despite the fact that the league accounted for about 52% of the entire sports programing lineup. This was the lowest viewing week for the league since 2010, according to a Pivotal Research Group analyst, Brian Wieser.