These past few weeks have been a PR nightmare for the National Football League. From player protests to fan boycotts, to aggravating President Trump and being pulled into the ongoing contention that is the current American political climate, the NFL is struggling to find a comfortable place for its brand and a way to deliver that brand to its fans without all the hoopla.
But that doesn’t mean all the news is bad. The NFL and Facebook are teaming up to change the face of how people interact with the game. Sure, streaming will bring massive changes to the NFL and the fan experience, but connecting with social media brings things to an entirely new level.
These days, many people – especially fantasy football players – tend to focus on highlights and stats. And that may be exactly what Facebook is delivering. According to media reports, the league and the social media giant have announced plans to allow Facebook to air NFL recaps and highlights from all regular season and playoff games throughout the season.
The current deal does not allow Facebook to air any live game coverage, but if this experiment goes well, there’s no reason to think that might not follow.
Even if live coverage doesn’t happen anytime soon, and the league sticks with networks and streaming apps, this is still a great deal for both sides. For Facebook, anything branded NFL is a bigtime “get.” In this case, they are able to offer their users access to one of the most popular sports leagues on the planet, which will certainly lead to the kinds of ongoing discussions that Facebook – and its advertisers – love.
For the NFL, the deal tears down some of the current limits on the league. Fans from across the nation and across the world can get their NFL fix via social media. Plus, the league can introduce itself to countless Facebook users who have no current connection with the National Football League.
To help sweeten that part of the deal, it’s being reported that NFL Films will be producing and packaging content especially for Facebook to share on its social network. In a statement, Hans Schroeder, CEO of NFL Media, told CNN: “We have millions of fans on Facebook, and they continue to demonstrate an incredible appetite for NFL content… We’re excited to bring a compelling set of highlights and shows from the NFL and our Clubs to our fans on Facebook.”
What remains to be seen, though, is if those fans will be as excited to see new NFL content. These days on Facebook, talking about the NFL is a blood sport. Countless fans are yelling at each other over the player protests, and many are vowing to not watch a single game until the league gets things “under control.”
What will happen when the NFL drops new content into that “conversation”? Looks