Social media platform Reddit has been added to the National Football League’s (NFL) roster of digital marketing channels as the new season begins.
The deal will see Reddit host a monthly series of ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) discussions on its platform as part of a broader content and advertising deal. The number of those forums could increase, according to reports.
The online Q&As will feature current and former NFL players, league executives, team personnel, famous fans and others associated with the league will take part in the popular format discussions.
The NFL will also produce a digital video series featuring the guests, to be distributed on Reddit as well as on the NFL’s various media outlets.
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSL), the deal does not involve a fee, but the companies will share any revenue generated through video sponsorships.
The new arrangement is part of concerted effort by the league to grow its digital footprint, an area where major league rival the National Basketball Association (NBA) is perceived to have an advantage. The NFL recently announced a multi-year partnership with social media video platform TikTok, a deal designed to grow engagement with younger audiences.
A lot of Reddit users do not engage with other social media platforms, meaning the NFL’s effort could open up another access stream to potential fans. According to 2018 Comscore data, 17 per cent of Reddit users do not use Facebook, 28 per cent do not use Twitter, 33 per cent do not use Instagram and 43 per cent do not use Snapchat. Blake Stuchin, the NFL’s vice president of digital media business development, told the WSJ this was a ‘compelling’ pitch.
Reddit AMAs are not known to shy away from controversial topics, an area where the NFL usually does its best to avoid going. However, Stuchin told the WSJ that the it would be up to the guests to handle questions as they saw fit.
“Generally, the participants will be representing themselves, first and foremost, and not necessarily the views of the NFL,” he said. “But the bulk of the conversations we have seen on Reddit—and the bulk of what people generally want to talk about—is core football. Anything beyond that, it’s really no different than the comments we see on any user-generated or social platform.”
Reddit says it has 8.8 million visitors to its football communities on the platform each month. The main NFL forum has 1.4 million members, with each team also having at least one dedicated forum on the platform.