The NFL has teamed up with Snapchat. No, you won’t be able to watch games through the social messaging and video-sharing app, of course, but NFL fans are now able to watch exclusive, original videos through Snapchat’s “Live Story” feature, which will offer a combination of user-submitted snaps mixed with official content that promises “inside access” to various NFL events and locations.
The partnership, which actually went live last week, will feature all 32 NFL teams in the upcoming photo-and-video combo packages, and can be watched by anyone worldwide where Snapchat is available.
Though the NFL’s first “Live Story” already made its debut during week one of the 2015 season, the two companies are only today formally announcing their partnership.
According to the NFL, it worked with Snapchat to product a weekly programming schedule which will run throughout the season, and continue through the postseason, including Super Bowl 50.
The next Live Story is scheduled to run tonight, in fact, ahead of the Thursday night game between the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. And though it’s launching to coincide with the live event, the story itself will remain on Snapchat for 24 hours.
Fans will be able to contribute snaps to the NFL’s Live Story if they have location services enabled while at select NFL events and games.
Snapchat has been taking advantage of its Live Story feature to generate revenue for its business, now valued at $16 billion. Recent reports have indicated the company is charging around two cents per view on a 10-second ad inserted alongside user submitted content. And the company has said that its Live Stories draw in 20 million users, on average, in a 24-hour timeframe. Another report found that Snapchat was asking marketers to pay between $400K-$500K for a full takeover of a Live Story feed, to give you an idea of this product’s value.
What’s interesting about the NFL and Snapchat tie-up is that the social media startup is working with the NFL to offer brands the opportunity to advertise within these curated Live Stories. That is, the two are selling the ads together – giving Snapchat the ability to tap into the NFL’s already extensive lineup of advertiser relationships, while the NFL gains access to Snapchat’s younger, highly mobile user base. The two will then share in the ad revenue, but didn’t detail how it’s being split.
The NFL also didn’t say how many people watched its first Live Story, but instead ballparked it at “millions of fans.”
However, the week one Live Story wasn’t the first time the two companies worked together. It seems that the NFL tested the waters with Snapchat earlier this year with a Live Story around the 2015 NFL Draft. During the NFL Draft in Chicago, a Snapchat Live Story about the event pulled in nearly 15 million fans worldwide, the company reports.
“Partnering with a popular platform such as Snapchat is another important step in our plan to reach our fans wherever they are, whether on NFL.com, NFL Network, NFL Mobile or outside of those properties,” said Blake Stuchin, Director, Digital Media Business Development for the National Football League in a statement released this morning. “The weekly programming schedule will provide another touch point for millions of fans to connect and share around their passion for the NFL while creating a unique vehicle to reach that audience for our trusted partners and sponsors.”
The NFL, whose games last year reached 202.3 million unique viewers, according to Nielsen, has been working to expand its array of digital partnerships in recent months. The organization introduced a new Game Pass service to offer viewers on connected devices the ability to stream regular season, preseason and older games on-demand, and then rolled this service out to an updated app on Apple TV. In addition, CBS said it would live-stream coverage of two regular-season NFL games for the first time this year, and it will live-stream the Super Bowl commercials for the first time, too.
As more NFL viewers are watching video content on other platforms beyond their living room TVs, it makes sense that the NFL would want to branch out to more services and devices as well. Being able to monetize those views may be only of partial interest to the NFL at this point – it’s more likely that it sees Snapchat as a tool to engage a younger generation of football fans.