How the NFL is rebuilding digital to put video front and center

With the redesign, the league launched a new set of video experiences. (NFL)
Redesigned (NFL)

The NFL recently took a step toward its digital rebuild by relaunching as part of its efforts to make video easier to access.

The league built a new back-end infrastructure to improve speed and performance across all devices and plans to upgrade all NFL Digital products to provide optimized video across devices and easier access to live streaming video of NFL games.

Jennifer Leung, director of product for NFL Digital Media, said the NFL began its digital redesign a few years ago when it realized it was coming up on the 10-year anniversary of taking in-house without ever doing a proper replatforming. She added that the legacy infrastructure was inhibiting the NFL’s ability to innovate and respond to market changes.

With the redesign, the league launched a new set of video experiences. Based on research with fans, the NFL realized that fans come to its digital properties for games and that it was a challenge for them to navigate the platforms in order to get access to those games.

“What you’ll see as we go into the season is an effort to streamline that access, to make it easier for fans to find and to watch our live games,” Leung said.

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NFL’s digital platforms offer pay-TV authenticated streams but the league wants to make the opportunities to watch those streams easier to access across as well as NFL Mobile and NFL connected TV.

Part of that update involved a revamp of the NFL’s video playback capabilities. Yeung points out that many NFL digital properties were still using Flash, so the company moved over to an HTML5 player on its web properties. The NFL has also been working on providing a linear streaming experience for its fans, so any videos will be immediately followed up by more relevant content.

Leung said the updates are both for existing NFL digital users and for fans who may be new to using the league’s digital platforms.

“First and foremost, we want to make sure that we’re serving the fans that come to us for news and information by making their experience a more delightful one,” said Leung, adding that a core set of platform capabilities and measurement tools are helping the NFL become smarter about the best ways to serve its audiences.