It’s not live streams of full games, but after a few years of rumors the NFL and Google have finally signed a media deal. Just in time for the Super Bowl, Google and the National Football League will bring highlight clips to YouTube and Google search results, according to Recode.
The deal also includes NFL-themed OneBox information at the top of search results that we’ve been seeing for a while. When you search for your favorite team, such as the New York Jets (Blech, go Pats! —ed.), you can see the kickoff time for the next game, a team schedule, and the current score during game time.
Under the deal, Google will sell ads next to NFL search data and videos and then share ad revenue with the league, Recode says.
Why this matters: Google’s NFL deal could be a warm-up to something bigger in the coming years. Rumors about NFL live game streaming coming to YouTube have circulated since at least early 2013. A big get like pro football would certainly go a long way to convert YouTube into a first-tier media destination. The popular video site already offers movie rentals—albeit without a fantastic selection—and YouTube’s music subscription offering, Music Key, also looks to expand YouTube beyond user-generated clips.
But if NFL live-game streaming does land on YouTube it won’t be for a while. Google’s next chance to conceivably snag an NFL contract would be for Thursday night games starting in the 2016-2017 season after CBS’ current deal expires.
If you’re looking for the NFL on YouTube there’s no shortage of clips through the league’s official channel—not to mention fan uploads. The difference now appears to be that Google will get faster access to video highlights and even some in-game clips.
Improved NFL content should start rolling in to Google this week, but expect to see even more content in February starting with the Super Bowl on Sunday. Google is expected to get a limited selection of highlight clips during the big game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots.