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Tackling Tech: Inside the NFL’s New Social Media Rules

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The NFL has come a long way in the two and a half years since its initial social media rules for teams. The latest set, however, still keep the 15 minutes before kickoff and whistle-to-whistle highlights as no-stream zones. And new challenges are just around the corner.

Content owners were jolted when the entire match was streamed live using smartphone app Periscope. Source: HBO.com

The first set of rules was written after NFL executives recovered from an adrenaline jolt caused by the live streaming via smartphone app Periscope of the pay to view Mayweather-Pacquiao title fight on May 2, 2015. The league wanted to protect its live assets – and thus its revenue rivers – from pirates.

Steep fines have been imposed for those who violate the league’s rules. Fines for non-compliance still exist years later.

As expected, the latest iteration of the social media rules for teams, crafted by the league allows widest yet use of video assets via social media and far beyond. But as tech use continues to evolve, the NFL and teams face challenges with use of emerging video types such as 360’degree replays during games.

Many of the aspects of the latest social media rules, like earlier iterations are difficult to clearly explain to the fan masses. Hopefully followers will see what the league means. Read

Highlights?

Teams aren’t supposed to share highlight or hype reels to social media platforms. But there’s a catch. If the reel is a collection of plays from a retiring players career as a thank you, that’s allowed. So too are reels that have a call to action of sorts, such as pointing off and directing viewers to tune in for an upcoming game. 

Once a play is over, the team can for, example, post the end-zone celebration on Twitter and if the league re-posts it, use it on other social media platforms.

Teams can post celebration video to social media sites as they occur after the whistle. Source: NFL.com

Nowadays, the league even allows teams to live stream their practices. There’s a reason why we haven’t seen any of this type of footage. Imagine being the one who has to tell the head coach that the practice is being filmed and it’s for wide-scale consumption.

Teams actually do live stream what’s referred to as “the media portion of practice,” which as the name implies is a subset of practice that the media is allowed to attend. Some have considered streaming weightlifting sessions.

There was a time when team live streaming was limited to press conferences. Those days are long gone as clubs are allowed under loosened rules to stream just about anything except the 15 minutes before kickoff and in-game highlights.

New in the most recent rules, is the ability for clubs to create team-specific, connected TV apps for so-called “smart” TVs. It’s too soon to tell if there’s adequate fan demand for this engagement opportunity. If it develops down the road, expect forward-thinking teams with application development expertise, or partners who bring that skill set to the table, to take advantage of this opportunity. Read

The Fan Impact

It’s safe to say that if asked how much social media they want, fans would simply reply MORE. With end-zone celebrations now allowed this season, and more fans using mobile devices…


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