The National Football League is looking to Facebook for help growing its fanbase.
The NFL has been traditionally stringent on letting game footage be incorporated anywhere outside of regular television programming, but thanks to the Facebook Watch platform, the company’s relationships may be shifting. Facebook and the NFL are currently in a partnership that allows game recaps to be shared on Facebook Watch in the form of video ads, a deal that allows the NFL to reach wider audiences. Both companies, however, are looking to grow the deal this year—Facebook would like to grow monetarily, while the NFL is focused on growing its international fanbase.
The NFL has established two international fan pages on the platform for football fans in the UK and Germany, both of which currently house thousands of members keen to discuss “American football.” The NFL’s four main Instagram accounts have also seen growth internationally, with video recap views up 44% in the past year. Facebook and Instagram are two of the most powerful tools brands can use to connect with local audiences, according to a Gartner report on the topic, particularly when leveraging the platforms to capture viewer attention, as the NFL has done with its game footage. The NFL and Facebook are looking to extend the terms of their deal to keep these viewing numbers growing.
It’s not just the NFL utilizing Facebook Watch to reach football fans—Fox Sports has started hosting weekly segments of “Fox Football Sunday” on the video platform as well, and other stations may not be far behind. The growing relationship between the NFL and Facebook could continue to flourish as more fans from around the world begin to tune in.