Facebook to offer NFL highlights globally in comprehensive content deal
Facebook, the social media giant, is to show highlights and original content from American football’s NFL after striking a worldwide programming deal with the league.
Under the ‘multi-year’ agreement announced today, Facebook will offer official NFL video clips, including highlights from all regular season games, the playoffs and the showpiece Super Bowl, as well as other content to users across the globe.
In addition, NFL Media, the league’s media arm, will distribute original programming to Facebook’s new Watch platform, which carries live and on-demand content and recently launched in USA.
Content on the Watch tab will only be available to US fans and will include NFL Turning Point, a weekly game review series, Sound FX, a behind-the-scenes video series using audio recordings from NFL players, and NFL Game Recaps.
International users will be able to access NFL Turning Point and Sound FX via the Facebook pages of the respective shows.
The deal is the latest development amid intensified competition between Facebook, Twitter and Amazon for digital rights to major sports events, and all three online titans now have partnerships with the NFL.
In addition, Twitter today announced the renewal of its deal to globally stream coverage of 31 tournaments from US golf's PGA Tour.
The NFL has sought to retain tight control over the distribution of its digital content, last year banning teams from posting videos on their social media pages, albeit the rules were eventually eased slightly to allow the posting of videos from non-live plays.
This week, Amazon will debut its live streaming of the NFL's Thursday night games after the e-commerce giant beat Twitter to the season-long package of matches in a deal said to be worth $50 million.
In 2016, Twitter paid a reported $10 million to live-stream 10 NFL Thursday night football games also shown on national networks CBS and NBC during the regular season.
Facebook’s agreement with the NFL follows a similar content deal the league signed with Twitter in May.
Twitter’s multi-year deal includes live breaking news and analysis, video highlights, plus a 30-minute live show five days a week.
In a statement today, Hans Schroeder, chief operating officer of NFL Media, said: "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."
Dan Reed, Facebook's head of global partnerships, added: "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. 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."
Twitter, which first started streaming PGA events earlier this year, will show more than 70 hours of live coverage and exclusive 360-degree video from the 2017-18 PGA Tour.
This will begin with the CareerBuilder Challenge starting on 18 January and with the season-ending Tour Championship next September.
Meanwhile, Spartan Race and Tough Mudder, two of the largest obstacle course race organisers, have committed to live-stream their events on Facebook.
Tough Mudder has secured a deal to deliver original, live event sports and fitness programming on the Watch platform.
Facebook will be the exclusive video platform for a new Tough Mudder Championship race series and a Weekly Tough Mudder Bootcamp live video series.
The new four-race series begins with Tougher Tri-State in Englishtown, New Jersey on 7 October and culminates with the Tougher Mudder World Championship at Lake Elsinore, California on 4 November.
Meanwhile, Spartan Race has teamed up with Facebook to live-stream its forthcoming world championships.
Live coverage of the Reebok Spartan Race World Championships will be available on Watch from 30 September to 1 October.
Watch will also show content from races in Atlanta on 21 October, Dallas on 28 October, Sacramento on 11 November and San Francisco on 18 November.