You'll be able to stream Super Bowl XLIX online for free next weekend, but it won't be the only place you'll be able to watch official footage of the game. Google has agreed a deal with the National Football League to show highlights on YouTube, creating an official NFL channel on the video site a month after it signed off on a similar deal with Facebook.
The deal won't allow YouTube to show entire games, but the NFL says it will give Google clips of "in-game" footage. Highlights from next week's Super Bowl, between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots, will be the first official videos to appear on the site. In addition, Google has expanded its NFL-related search results, offering extensive information about a team's scores, background, and upcoming games in its "OneBox" search result format.
Google search results will now show extensive information about specific teams
Google agreed a similar deal with ESPN last year for the soccer World Cup, offering detailed information on scores and games when people searched for tournament teams. In that case, clips weren't made available on YouTube — Google pointed users towards ESPN's own video player. This time around, a mockup of Google's new NFL search results on a smartphone shows an embedded YouTube highlight video. As a part of the deal, Google has reportedly agreed to share money earned on ads it sells against YouTube videos and expanded search results with the league, while also agreeing to promote the NFL on YouTube and elsewhere.
The NFL is still pushing people to watch its games on the TV networks that have shelled out millions of dollars for the rights to air them, but after years of fiercely protecting its video content, this move is the latest of a series of cautious steps into the digital world. NBC is streaming the Super Bowl on February 1st, and a year before it agreed terms with Facebook to allow official video and fantasy football content on the social network, the NFL made a deal with Twitter to show highlights on the service.
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