NFL's Hiring Of Content Director Could Lead To Transformation Into Media Firm
A recent small blurb in the trade magazine Variety could have huge implications for the NFL and the major networks in the future. Earlier this month, the league announced it had hired Jordan Levin as its first chief content director, a curious title when one considers his experience has been in creating teenybopper shows such as “Dawson’s Creek” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the NFL’s content is football.
But Michael Pfahl, a sports management professor at Ohio University, says he understands the move. “The ramifications could be pretty big. It could be a major step in (the NFL) learning how to be a media company,” Pfahl said.
In Pfahl’s view, Levin’s role will be twofold: to develop a strategic format on how to link already-existing content from the NFL Network, the vast archives of NFL Films and the digital services; and to create new content in the form of game shows, scripted material and behind-the-scenes footage to appeal to a broader range of fans. “They want to stay in your mind all year long,” explained Pfahl.
The potential danger for the networks is, if the NFL can produce its own content, why do they need to pay enormous fees for broadcasting rights? The NFL Network has already shown it can produce its own games in a shared Thursday night package with CBS.
Pfahl has felt that many of the NFL’s assets such as NFL Films have been “underutilized” for a long time. “They have every game recorded going back to like 1960 so, if I want to watch a certain game, I should be able to go into the archives and pay a small fee to see that game,” Pfahl said.
Because of the sport’s rampant popularity, there will always be NFL-related content such as the new HBO series “Ballers”. The NFL just wants to ensure it can maximize its profits from all its content going forward.
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