SBJ/March 31-April 6, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL team sites get access to highlights

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NFL teams will be able to use their own game footage for their websites and their mobile offerings for the first time next season.

The move, outlined at the NFL’s annual owners meeting last week, is linked to the league’s plan to launch NFL Now, its over-the-top digital content network. That debut is slated for this summer.

“If you go back five years ago, it didn’t make sense to populate the desktop environment with game footage,” said New England Patriots President Jonathan Kraft, who is co-chairman of the league’s digital media committee. “But as we looked to the future, and trying to create suitable content for the mobile environment, it was critical that snippets of game footage be inserted into the club-produced content.”

That club-produced content, now enlivened with highlights, will also be provided to fans en masse through NFL Now.

The game footage that teams will be able to provide is the same type of video from the league’s network broadcast partners that previously has been available to fans via NFL.com but not through the team-specific websites.

In tandem with that development for NFL Now — an initiative that was first announced during Super Bowl week — clubs have been required to turn over to the league for use on NFL Now large swaths of their team-specific video content, such as footage from coaches press conferences. That content will fuel the video-driven network’s plan to have 32 distinct links for team content, as well as national material.

NFL officials felt that the teams’ local content to date was not reaching as many viewers as possible. By bringing it all under one roof, the content conceivably will capture more eyeballs than it has drawn while being kept in each respective team’s digital home.

Some team officials have voiced concerns about content demands they anticipate from the creation of NFL Now. There’s also been concern that the league-level offering might cannibalize some of the teams’ local efforts. Additionally, many clubs will have to ramp up their video-content operations in order to meet the NFL’s requirements of what each team provides.



Each team, however, will be allowed to sell ads associated with their video that’s presented on NFL Now and be able to keep that resulting revenue. The league also can place ads with the content, though, and in that case, any revenue will be split — with the one particular club keeping 50 percent and the remainder being split among the other 31 teams.

By placing the ads themselves, clubs can ensure a spot is not sold to a company that might conflict with a local sponsor. The Dallas Cowboys, for example, would not want to see a Coca-Cola ad associated with their coach’s show when presented on NFL Now given that Pepsi is a major Cowboys sponsor.

Additional NFL Now revenue that will be divided evenly among all 32 clubs will come from the national content provided for the offering by NFL Network and NFL Films. That content is expected to make up about half the total content envisioned for NFL Now, one source said.

“The league and teams, under [Commissioner Roger Goodell’s] leadership, have always been looking for ways for clubs to have new opportunities to grow their revenues,” Kraft said. “The NFL Now concept … will give the clubs a revenue-generating opportunity that they haven’t had in the past.”

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