NFL relaxes in-game video, social media rules for teams

Social Media

The NFL relaxed its in-game video and social media rules for individual teams on Friday, a move that came seven weeks after it had enforced restrictions of what clubs could post, angering many teams.

According to an internal memo distributed Friday afternoon and viewed in part by ESPN, teams may now:

• Capture and post GIFs of “ancillary content,” such as touchdown celebrations and player reactions during games.

• Publish any “in-progress video” available via the NFL’s internal distribution system to team websites.

• Conduct one pregame live stream via Periscope or Facebook Live per game.

• Use postgame content — such as locker room celebrations — immediately, rather than observe a 60-minute moratorium.

Teams also can now post five snaps of live in-game action to Snapchat per game, after the practice previously was not allowed.

The most valuable change allows for teams to post unlimited GIFs of highlights, which don’t count against individual team video quotas.

Meanwhile, Yahoo Finance reported that teams can now post up to 16 videos per game day, twice the amount of the previous total.

The league office and the teams have had differences of opinions for years on how best to pursue in-game digital strategy. Teams wanted to push as much content as possible, and the league wanted to control distribution in order to maximize monetization.

The league moved in October to limit what it considered egregious violations of official policies. Several teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns, responded by posting GIFs and videos during games that mocked the NFL’s refusal to allow original video content to be published.

Fans expressed their frustration too, as team social feeds that they relied on to give them a certain amount of in-game content all of a sudden became more generic.

One team executive told ESPN that teams still don’t believe the NFL has relaxed the policies enough, especially with the use of Facebook Live, but the league feels it is in a tough position, as it doesn’t want to give the content to Facebook for free. Twitter pays for its “Thursday Night Football” stream.