Sports is one of the last treasures for live TV — you’ve just got to see it as it goes down. However, there are still plenty of reasons to check out live sports after the fact: Odell Beckham Jr.’s catch-of-the-year (decade?) comes to mind. And so, in anticipation of Super Bowl XLIX this Sunday, February 1, the NFL today announced a new partnership with YouTube to bring you even more of the action on the Web.
The new partnership will see select NFL content available via an official NFL YouTube channel, including game previews, in-game highlights, post-game recaps, and clips featuring news, analysis, fantasy football advice, and other select content. Official game highlights, and direct links to the videos, will be available through a special box at the top of Google Search results. Fans will also be able to easily see kickoff time and broadcast information for every NFL game from Google Search — something that has been annoyingly arduous to track down in basic searches up to now.
Just in time to lead up to Super Bowl XLIX, the channel will feature clips of top plays, games, and performers from the 2014 season, the sights and sounds from Arizona, and a preview of the matchup between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks. After the game, football fans will be able to access in-game highlights from the channel as well.
The NFL has been working hard to increase its accessibility and consumption online. The NFL Now app, which offers similar content to the new YouTube channel, was a huge first step in bringing fans more ways to get their NFL fix. But the new partnership with YouTube offers a more accessible way to get to the action, and also shows an uncharacteristic sharing of the wealth by the NFL when it comes to spreading its locked-down content to entities that aren’t owned and operated by the billion dollar league.
While genres like sports and news still thrive via live television, the days when customers hold on to a cable or satellite subscription just to watch the game or catch the local news are numbered. HDTV antennas, and new Web platforms like Dish’s Sling TV are offering a new way forward for sports fans looking to cut cable and satellite ties. As such, it only makes sense for the NFL to begin offering some complementary content online that fans can enjoy from a video service as wildly popular as YouTube.
Hans Schroeder, Senior Vice President, Media Strategy, Business Development, & Sales for the NFL, says the organization sees an “insatiable appetite for digital video content.”
According to The Nielsen Company, 202.3 million unique viewers watched the 2014 regular football season. That’s 80% of all television homes and 68% of all potential viewers in the U.S. During the 17 weeks of its season last year, NFL games were the week’s most-watched TV show. Add online to that equation, and football will be even more prevalent in U.S. homes than ever – if that’s even possible.