The NFL is extending its partnership with Snapchat to include the first ever sports channel for the mobile app’s Discover tab. By swiping left on the app, users can now seek out NFL videos made for Snapchat alongside football news and popular topics of interest. The partnership first started in a limited fashion back in September, when Snapchat inked a deal with the sports network to help it create tailor-made content for nearly 50 regular season games.
As part of this new two-year deal, the NFL will now package exclusive behind-the-scenes footage for its story stream for all 256 regular season games. Snapchat calls these unique videos Live Stories, and they mix user-submitted snaps with professionally curated media to create a kind of highlight reel that lasts for 24 hours. The NFL says this agreement even extends to the playoffs and next year’s Super Bowl.
The purpose of the deal is to fashion Snapchat as a one-stop shop for all your football needs and to give the NFL a way to reach younger audiences. More viewers, especially smartphone owners who don’t pay for cable, have turned to social platforms to both interact with others about big sporting matches and to watch the game as it’s filtered through tweets, snaps, and vines. The NFL desperately wants this audience, and it’s now willing to give away key parts of its media product for free to keep those viewers interested and engaged.
For Snapchat, it’s a no-brainer. The company has spent immense resources turning its Discover platform into a legitimate news and media destination, with which it can sell ads against. (And nothing sells ads quite like football.) These partnerships also bolster its platform’s viability as more than just a way to message with friends.