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How the NFL LCC Program Brings Fans ‘As Close As They Can Get’





Photo Credit: NFL

The NFL is using “the best job you’ll ever have for 10 days” to greatly improve its social presence for a fanbase thirsty for content.

The NFL’s Live Content Correspondents have helped amplify the league’s social presence since the program’s launch in 2017. The first year, the LCC program took home a Shorty Award for its work.

Based on the success, for the 2018 NFL season, the program was expanded to better provide fans with a more robust content library.

“The LCC program takes our fans as close as they can get without putting on a helmet,” said David Feldman, NFL senior director of social content. “We have created a content distribution model and have creators in every market that capture content at games and events for league, clubs and players.”

The LCC program expanded from one correspondent for each of the 32 NFL teams to two, including a focus on those with DSLR experience. There were also three correspondents hired in London, to better capture and assist teams in the league’s games in the United Kingdom.

READ MORE: Inside the Atlanta Falcons’ Social Media Presence With Kyle Benzion

Many of the first-year LCCs rolled over into the second year and helped recommend new hires, said Samantha Strejeck, NFL coordinator of social media operations and LCC. She said a major request from the league’s teams was a need for added video support.

During the 2018 season, LCCs captured nearly 2,700 pieces of content on Instagram and Twitter, which resulted in 96.9 million video views and 37.2 million engagements through league, club and player accounts. The LCC content was restrained to social media streams, however, but also included 68 videos featured on NFL Network’s GameDay Morning and Checkdown’s Twitter shows.

The LCC workforce is made up of a collection of professionals in all the NFL markets, many skilled in photo while others specialize in DSLR video and Snapchat or Instagram stories. The makeup of the LCC team was partially dependent on what the local teams needed for support on their digital content teams.

“We originally launched primarily as a way to help the clubs,” Feldman said. “They each have different resources when they’re on the road and this was a way to have extra creators to capture real-time photo and video, and it’s grown in tandem working with the clubs.”

Now, the NFL will continue to grow the LCC program to expand the leverage of capturing as much content as possible, Strejeck said. The expanded LCC teams grew club and player posts 300 percent, while engagement jumped 400 percent.

“Having two content creators supercharged our efforts,” she said. “Having two meant we could capture every big moment, pregame, in-game and postgame.”

READ MORE: How the PGA Tour Helped Pro Golfers Improve Their Social Presence

A key factor in the LCC program and helping get the content out fast was an upgraded WiFi system in each stadium, said Feldman. The NFL also has a partnership with Samsung, providing each LCC with a phone.

The content also expanded beyond game day, said Russell Simon, NFL coordinator of social media operations and LCC.

“We see the LCC program as the way to celebrate football everywhere, and this is the mechanism we can capture great moments at scale at game day and beyond,” Simon said. “LCCs can now capture content at any moment all year round. It’s everything from community events to the Super Bowl to workouts.”

The use of LCCs off the field works into a broader movement by the NFL’s digital efforts to better capture player lives and help the content permeate throughout the football ecosystem as a whole.

“It’s investing in helping players improve their social footprints and it’s about showing players’ helmets off and getting to know them off the field,” Feldman said. “The content shows the personality-driven aspects of their lives. It’s not just athletes with what they bring on the field. The players are the best influencers and evangelizers of the league.”

Pat Evans is a writer based in Las Vegas, focusing on sports business, food, and beverage. He graduated from Michigan State University in 2012. He's written two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer. Evans can be reached at


Golf Digest Back Charging For Growth With New Owner

Golf Digest is set to embark on its third ownership transition in its nearly 70 years of operation and all signs point to growth under new owners.




Golf Digest Discovery

Photo Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Discovery, Inc. continues its drive into golf with the acquisition of Golf Digest.

Discovery had already entered the golf space, attaining exclusive rights deals outside the U.S. for the PGA Tour, European Tour and Ladies European Tour. GOLFTV, an international streaming service launched by Discovery this past New Year’s Day, is in year one of a 12-year, $2.4 billion deal carrying the PGA Tour’s TV and streaming rights outside the U.S. Discovery also has global content deals with Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari, using GOLFTV as its platform.

The bullish approach follows the trend of niche content in today’s media landscape. Discovery knows this firsthand with Food Network and MotorTrend. In sports, Discovery has had success with Eurosport and realizes sport fans crave consistent coverage.

READ MORE: The Caddie Network Partnership With Golf Digest Shows Power of Niche Platforms

“We’re looking to evolve our business and investing in content and genres that work for traditional and digital channels,” says Alex Kaplan, Discovery Golf president and general manager. “We learned from our experience with Eurosport Player, it’s very difficult to build an engaged fanbase when we offer multi-sport content.

“Let’s go deep into a specific vertical. Golf rights were available in an expansive way, and it’s not just compelling to watch, but fans play it, buy it, travel for it. It’s an ecosystem that was particularly compelling.”

The acquisition includes all brands under the Golf Digest brand, including Golf World, Golf Digest Schools and The Loop. According to the press release, Golf Digest attracts 4.8 million monthly readers and 60 million monthly video views. That’s along with its 2.2 million social followers.

This is Golf Digest’s third transition of ownership in its nearly 70 years of operation. All three have brought the media company different advantages, says Golf Digest editor Jerry Tarde, who’s been with the company for 42 years.

Tarde said The New York Times, which acquired the magazine in 1969, brought the basics and values of journalism, while Conde Nast, the owner since 2001, brought design, art and sophistication to the brand. Now, Tarde believes Discovery will bring growth.

Tarde, along with being editor-in-chief, gains a new title and role: Discovery Golf global head of strategy and content.

“This is an organization we’re at the heart of, in terms of developing sports and connecting with a high-value audience that’s passionate about the subject,” Tarde says. “This is the most exciting thing to happen to Golf Digest since it was founded in 1950. It lights a fire under us and gives us an opportunity to improve and expand U.S. coverage.

“We’ll also be able to extend it worldwide to more than 200 countries.”

On the other side of the equation, the acquisition gives Discovery a golf presence in the U.S. Kaplan said Discovery has been collecting its golf assets and knew an editorial vertical would be crucial, but it could take years to build. The Golf Digest acquisition allows Discovery to acquire that piece with one check.

“Our offering to golf fans and golf advertisers is now that of a global platform,” Kaplan says. “We can bring an aggregated golf audience anywhere in the world.”

READ MORE: GolfPass Could Set Standard in 21st-Century Sports Media

With a strong strategy in place, it will be business as usual for the time being, Tarde says, but there will be talk of new ideas and potential investments. Discovery will retain Golf Digest staff, continue the U.S. monthly print product and acquire global licenses for editions 70 countries.

“We’ve got a great team that’s been underutilized, really,” Tarde said. “Because of the way the publishing economy has been treated, our business has been in retreat. That’s now the way I spent my first 30 years. We were charging.

“This is the exciting part, we’re back on the charge.”

Like Tiger Woods on the prowl on Sunday.

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Inside the XFL’s New TV Deals

With nine months to go until its first game, the XFL has locked in its lineup of broadcast partners for all 43 regular season games.

Front Office Sports



Photo Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else. 

With nine months to go until its first game, the XFL has locked in its lineup of broadcast partners.

The deals will see all 43 games appear on either broadcast or cable TV and will see them divided up between ABC, Fox, ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2.

What do you need to know?

1. – 24 of the XFL’s 43 games to be on broadcast TV (13 on ABC; 11 on Fox)

2. – According to Joe Flint of the WSJ, the deals are for three years, but no cash is changing hands.

3. – As part of the deals, the broadcast partners will cover the production costs of the games, which John Ourand notes will run $400,000 per game.

4. – Disney and Fox will keep all the television advertising inventory for the games while the XFL will handle the selling of sponsorships in the venues, according to Flint.

Will we see a repeat of 2001? 

The XFL’s reboot will come 19 years after McMahon and company attempted to make spring football a thing. Like the AAF this year, the league started with a promising opening night and then sputtered to the end. By the end of its first and only season, the XFL saw its ratings fall from a 9.5 to a 1.5 at their lowest point, according to OSW Review.

While the first time around may have not gone as planned, executives from all sides of the table are enthusiastic about the possibilities.

“The effort Vince is throwing behind it with his own personal capital and the combination of Fox and Disney platforms give us the best chance to make spring football work.” – ESPN programming chief Burke Magnus to Joe Flint of the WSJ.

Rolling into upfronts…

The announcement of the deals couldn’t have come at a more strategic time for all parties involved with upfronts scheduled to begin in six days. Given the fact that the broadcast partners will be responsible for selling ads, it would be rather surprising if the XFL inventory wasn’t included in their presentations.

Last year alone, the television upfront market for commercials generated $20.8 billion in commitment from advertisers, up 5.2% from the previous year, according to an estimate by Media Dynamics.

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Why Fewer Ad Breaks are Coming to the Super Bowl

Fox will be cutting back the number of commercial breaks for the big game by one, having only four breaks per quarter instead of five.

Front Office Sports



Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else. 

Next year’s Super Bowl might feel slightly different to viewers.

That’s because Fox will be cutting back the number of commercial breaks for the big game by one, having only four breaks per quarter instead of five, according to Brian Steinberg of Variety.

Fewer breaks, but the same amount of commercials…

Although Fox will be cutting down one whole commercial break each quarter, the four that remain will be slightly longer, allowing the broadcaster to still have the same amount of slots for advertisers even with fewer breaks in the action.

This isn’t a first for the NFL…

The league has been working with broadcast partners since last year to find new ways to deliver advertisements during telecasts. The initiative last year focused on delivering more sponsored vignettes and less “billboard” ads, a change that could be difficult at times for the networks seeing as in the past they have used the “billboard” inventory as bonuses to big-spending sponsors, according to Variety.

Why do they want to cut down? According to calculations from Streaming Observer’s Chris Brantner, the average NFL fan watches almost 24 hours of advertisements in a season.

Or other leagues…

As leagues battle for the attention of their consumers, making sure they give them less time to check their phone or change the channel has become a priority.

Earlier this year, MLB announced that it was planning to reduce each national commercial break by 25 seconds, NASCAR has been using split screen advertising since its days on ESPN back in 2011, and the NBA has done it with ESPN during timeouts.

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