Football is finally coming to YouTube.
The National Football League has struck a deal to bring official football game highlights and more to the Google-owned streamer.
As part of the deal, NFL has launched a YouTube channel that it will program with curated clips of game previews, in-game highlights, postgame recaps and other news, analysis and fantasy football tips from NFL Network and NFL.com. In addition, Google will now promote official NFL game highlights through Google search along with kickoff time and broadcast information for every NFL game.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the multiyear deal cost Google in the multimillions annually and will see Google handling the ad sales for channel. Once Google recoups the fee it paid for the NFL rights, the search giant will then split ad revenue with the NFL.
The NFL has long held tight control over its video rights and has held out on posting them for free on the Internet. Instead, the league has developed its own digital products, including the fledgling NFL Now video subscription service. But in a sign that the NFL has loosened its grip on its video content, the league struck a deal with Facebook in December to bring short video clips to the social network alongside ads from Verizon Wireless. A deal with YouTube, where NFL videos have long been posted illegally, is the next step.
"Partnering with YouTube and Google provides the NFL unique access to millions of highly engaged fans through the global leader in video and search," said NFL senior vp media strategy and business development Hans Schroeder. "We continue to see an insatiable appetite for digital video content, and this partnership further expands fans' ability to discover and access NFL content throughout the year."
The YouTube channel comes just in time for the Super Bowl, which takes place Feb. 1 in Glendale, Ariz.