About two months ago the NFL implemented a new social media policy that effectively banned teams from posting any video-based content during games. The backlash was tremendous, with fans and teams criticizing the NFL for negatively impacting fan’s social media experiences, especially during a TV ratings slump.
But now it seems the NFL has decided to relax these restrictions. In a memo from the NFL to all teams obtained by Yahoo Finance, the league outlined a new set of rules that should make it easier for teams to share content with fans on social media.
- Teams will now be able to post “non-highlight” video during games. Previously teams couldn’t post ANY video content during the game window. “Non-highlight” footage is any footage that isn’t directly of a play, and can include halftime performances, fans, and player celebrations.
- Teams will now be allowed to post up to 16 videos per day on each social platform, up from 8.
- Teams can now capture and post their own GIFs during games as long as they are also “non-highlight” footage. Previously, teams couldn’t create ANY GIFs during games, and were forced to post generic animated GIFs to celebrate an event like a touchdown.
- Teams can now post five “snaps” of live game action to Snapchat per game. Previously they were not allowed to post any snaps. Whether intentional or not, this rule makes Snapchat the only place to get “live” game footage outside of a TV broadcast or GIFs and videos created by the NFL itself.
- The huge fine for violating these rules, and specifically for posting live footage of a game on social media will remain, with fines potentially adding up to $100,000.
Interestingly, the memo also detailed a “test agreement” with Giphy to make the GIF service “the source of high quality and authentic NFL GIFs of ancillary game and historical/iconic content”.
While we reached out to Giphy for clarification on the partnership and are waiting to hear back, it seems like the GIF service will create and host “evergreen” GIFs for the NFL, and not create or host GIFs of gameplay.
Even under the new rules, teams still can’t create their own GIFs or videos of gameplay, and will still have to rely on the NFL’s social team to capture and post GIFs and videos during games. This was the part of the rules that most frustrated teams, since they essentially had to sit around and wait for the NFL to create and upload a content.
While the league may be good about quickly creating GIFS during a primetime game where there is only one broadcast, it obviously takes more time at 1pm on Sunday where there could be upwards of 8 games being played at once. Plus, if a team wants a GIF or video of a specific moment that the NFL didn’t think was worthy of a highlight, they still have to manually email and request it to be made – a process that takes time.
Ultimately, these new rules will will make it easier for teams to share more content, but they still won’t necessarily be able to share relevant content – meaning replays of the actual game.