- The National Football League (NFL) added Reddit to its digital marketing channels to connect with fans who use the online platform to see sports news and connect with others. Brands will have opportunities to sponsor an original NFL video series with pre-roll ads, per an announcement.
- The league is hosting a year-round series of "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) discussions as part of a broader content and advertising deal timed with the kickoff to this year's regular season. Current and former players, NFL executives, team personnel and even prominent fans will take questions from Reddit users in the discussions.
- The digital video series will be distributed on Reddit and the NFL's social media channels, NFL.com and cable TV's NFL Network. Monthly, almost 9 million people among Reddit's user base of 330 million visit NFL-related communities on the platform, according to the league's announcement.
The NFL's content and advertising partnership with Reddit is a novel way for both organizations to generate revenue while offering fans original content and access to online discussions. The NFL isn't paying a fee to Reddit, but they will share sponsorship revenue from the video series, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. Those sponsorships are a chance for brands to reach audiences who are highly engaged with Reddit's content, including videos and online discussions.
By partnering with Reddit, the NFL can reach audiences that aren't as present on other content-sharing platforms, including social media. Forty-three percent of Reddit users don't use Snapchat, 33% don't have an Instagram account, 28% don't use Twitter and 17% aren't Facebook users, according to Comscore data cited by the Journal.
The NFL this year created an official profile, "r/NFL" in Reddit's nomenclature, that now has 1.5 million members.
The league must be prepared for Reddit users who participate in AMAs by asking questions about controversial topics, such as social justice issues or player safety. Reddit has espoused free speech among its collection of online discussion groups, but invited controversy with the presence of communities, known as "subreddits," devoted to contentious topics and issues. Reddit has removed subreddits containing objectionable content, pirated works and trollish behavior at various times, but the effort has intensified as the company seeks greater sponsorship revenue from advertisers like the NFL who are increasingly concerned about brand safety in digital media.
Reddit in June announced a collaboration with Oracle Data Cloud to provide brand safety controls among its 140,000 subreddits, Adweek reported. In February, Reddit introduced an ad performance bundle that included campaign objectives such as app installs, reach, video view, traffic and conversions associated with bid types such as CPM, cost per view and cost per click, the company said in a blog post.
The newest effort comes just days after the NFL created an official account on TikTok as part of a two-year agreement to post content on the social video app that's popular among Generation Z. Both Reddit and TikTok are home to younger consumers who are more likely to be cord-cutters and therefore unreachable by traditional TV ads.