As Super Bowl nears, NFL launches YouTube channel

With “Deflategate” firmly in the rearview mirror, can we move on to some more important news? Like the NFL finally pushing some content to its new YouTube channel?

That’s right, the NFL – after a lengthy wait – finally has launched the channel, with plans to stock it full of in-game highlights, recaps of game action and related content.

The NFL has some of the most popular content on TV. Nielsen said more than 202 million viewers tuned in to watch regular season games in 2014, 68% percent of potential viewers in the U.S. and 80% of all TV homes. NFL games accounted for the top 20, and 45 of the 50 most-watched TV shows among all programming last fall and for the third consecutive year.

Video on the new channel – at YouTube.com/NFL — will be directly viewable for Google Search users on PCs, tablets, and mobile phones. Viewers will be able to conduct a Google search to display official NFL video along with related news and information all delivered to the user in one distinct box at the top of the search results. Kickoff time and broadcast information for every NFL game will also be prominently displayed in Google Search.

Leading up to the Super Bowl this week, the channel already contains clips of many of the top plays, games, and performers from the 2014 season, as well as content featuring the sights and sounds from Arizona and previewing the matchup between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. The official NFL channel on YouTube and Google search results will also contain in-game highlights from Super Bowl XLIX.

“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 Hans Schroeder, SVP of media strategy, business development and sales for the National Football League. “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.”

If, however, you’re looking for clips from past Super Bowls or past NFL seasons, you won’t find it on the YouTube NFL channel. That’s being served up on the NFL’s other OTT play, NFL Now. The league also has a deal to post content on Facebook, and has a deal with Verizon for mobile content.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn