YouTube and the NFL are working together to build younger consumer interest in the Sunday Ticket, a package for out-of-market games, by appealing to them through the league’s YouTube channel.
Social media influencers were paid to travel to create content around the NFL Draft in Kansas City, MO to encourage football fans to sign up ahead of the upcoming season to promote Sunday Ticket, which launched on April 11th, weeks ahead of the NFL Draft.
The NFL is expanding its influencer marketing efforts to appeal to younger audiences as they transition from paying attention to football on television to streaming services and social media to keep track of the game. NFL’s revamped youth-focused strategy, launched months ago, seeks to position content creators as an important part of the NFL viewing experience.
YouTube paid influencer Lisa Nguyen, who has over four million subscribers on YouTube and Katie Feeney, who is a content creator and lifestyle influencer with over 3.2 million YouTube subscribers and 7 million TikTok followers, to go to the Draft in-person to capture footage and promote NFL Sunday Ticket on their social media platforms. Editor’s note: the NFL covered travel and housing for this Digiday reporter to attend the Draft.
Angela Courtin, vp of YouTube’s marketing division said that the brand will allocate ad spend to YouTube, Twitter, the Reddit app, Instagram, and TikTok. In addition, YouTube will bump up its marketing spend in the weeks ahead of the 2023-2024 NFL season, though Courtin did not say by how much.
“Our goal in our partnership with the NFL is to leverage all that we have in our arsenal to ensure that people understand where and how to get the subscription, as well as to then build a community of fans on YouTube or increase the number of fans on YouTube,” said Courtin.
YouTube can be seen as a way to get viewers to ultimately subscribe to Sunday Ticket, which costs $249 per year.
“It’s not, in our minds, really kind of near-term transactional and subscribers are important, but it’s really about that deeper relationship we’ll continue to build with these fans, especially younger ones,” said Jon Cruz, director and global head of sports partnerships at YouTube.
According to Statista, a platform for analytical analysis, the influencer and content creator market is expected to grow to an estimated $16.4 billion by the end of 2022. In addition, the Samba TV’s State of Viewership Report showed that 65 percent of Gen Z consumers do not have a cable or satellite TV subscription or watch television through those means, and that Gen Z is the least likely to have a cable or satellite TV subscription.
The NFL has been focused on increasing the digital distribution of its games, said Blake Stuchin, the NFL’s vice president of digital media business development. The YouTube-NFL agreement “was a strategic one with the main goal of providing our fans greater access to this premium product,” he said.
Using influencer marketing can help a brand reach a particular creator’s “voice and vibe,” said Danny Pomerantz, a media and entertainment practice leader at Prophet, a growth strategy consulting firm. He noted these creators could help NFL “refresh its aging fanbase.”
Nguyen and Feeny‘s Instagram stories, TikTok and Instagram posts and YouTube descriptions included links to sign up for the Sunday Ticket as part of the partnership along with a $100 discount of NFL Sunday Ticket. It wasn’t clear how many sign ups their posts generated.
Feeny has always loved sports and NFL and at one point, was NFL’s first ever social media correspondent for the Washington Commanders. In her post, she interviewed Draft prospects and also gave a behind the scenes tour of the NFL Draft.
Nguyen highlighted local businesses to showcase local restaurants to try while also getting the word out about NFL Sunday Ticket. “They’re [NFL] very vocal about letting me shoot content that is authentic to my brand and my audience and now that YouTube is the new home of the NFL Sunday ticket, it’s my job to announce that and let people know,” said Nguyen.
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