The NFL’s New Social Media Policy: Forcing Teams Outside the Box

By: Courtney Erat, Account Executive for The Nittany Quill

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Image Credit: nytimes.com

Last week, the National Football League introduced a new policy regarding social media: teams are no longer allowed to post videos or GIFs of in-game action on their accounts. This restriction begins at kickoff and lasts until one hour after the game ends. Violations could cost teams up to $100,000 in fines.

The rule seems to be designed to make sure viewers are going through the NFL’s official platforms to view video content. Highlights, reaction GIFs, and replays are all off limits under the new policy. But who is this rule really hurting?

Live-tweeting content during games is a huge part of most organizations’ social media strategy. It further engages fans and entertains them in a way that differs from just watching the game on television. As is true with any brand, fans who are more engaged tend to spend more money.

All in all, fans are not getting as much content – particularly less of the content they have come to expect on game day. The NFL simply cannot keep up with the flow of content that would normally be produced by all 32 teams in the league. The league’s desire to control the flow of traffic is hurting both their primary audience – the fans – and their primary attraction – the teams.

This week, teams began poking fun at the new rule, looking for loopholes in an attempt to keep fans engaged. The Philadelphia Eagles started using toy figurines and paper footballs to create makeshift re-enactments of big plays. The Cleveland Browns came next, posting a GIF recreation of their touchdown.

The great thing about social media is it allows for creativity. The NFL has forced their organizations to get creative. In 2016, teams essentially have to provide live updates on their games. Taking away the ability to post in-game video will continue to cause problems for teams until they figure out how to make this new policy work for them.

At this point, seeing how each organization navigates new strategies may be (almost) as interesting as the games.

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