The NFL and Twitter announced a new partnership today that’s intended to give users of the popular social media site new and exclusive content to engage with but will probably just end up ruining the perfect marriage between live sports and social media, we bet.
According to Thursday’s news release that revealed the partnership, Twitter users will now be able to access a “uniquely packaged, seven-day-a-week NFL content programming schedule,” which sounds to us like code-speak for something that can be sponsored by McDonalds or something, creating a new revenue stream for the NFL, as if they didn’t have enough money already, those greedy bastards. The new Twitter-based video content will include in-game highlights of “Thursday Night Football” and clips from other games, as well as “news, analysis, fantasy football advice, and voting platforms from NFL Network and NFL.com.” The exclusive videos are almost certain to be preceded by some type of commercial, as if NFL fans didn’t already have to sit through enough of those already, for Pete’s sake.
"Partnering with Twitter provides the NFL with a unique vehicle to reach millions of highly engaged fans in an environment which will allow trusted partners and sponsors to align with our brand," said Brian Rolapp, Chief Operating Officer for NFL Media, confirming our worst fears. "With consumption habits shifting to mobile devices and companion experiences alongside broadcasts of our games, this partnership will provide us an additional channel to reach those users which is completely complementary to our flagship mobile product, NFL Mobile from Verizon,” he added, shoehorning in the name of a corporate sponsor, because that’s what the NFL does, not just here but at every possible opportunity.
“The NFL has always been at the forefront of media innovation and this is the next step in that evolution,” said Adam Bain, President of Global Revenue for Twitter, making a solid point that surprisingly doesn’t allude to advertising dollars. “Having access to this type of highly coveted content on Twitter will not only offer our users a unique programming schedule which will deepen their engagement with our platform”…wait for it...”but will also provide our sponsors with a value proposition that few other partners can bring to the table."
Yay, sponsors on Twitter. Social media fans can’t wait for that.
With a stated mission of enabling “national sponsors to realize maximum engagement and conversation around NFL content on a social channel,” look for snarky tweets about players and teams to be favorited and retweeted by select national NFL sponsors, who you’ll then follow back out of a misplaced sense of obligation, because that’s just how these things work.