The biggest day on the NFL calendar for the 32-team social media departments isn’t a game, the draft or the start of free agency. It’s the day of the program’s release.
Just as coaches spend hours planning games, digital departments have spent months planning and shooting videos that will go live when the full 2022 regular season schedule is released Thursday night.
Most teams spare no expense in finding unique ways to showcase their next roster.
“Releasing the schedule for us is kind of our Super Bowl in the digital sports club world,” said Derek Eagleton, Dallas Cowboys vice president for media and programming.
The Cowboys had one of the best videos in the league last year with the rapper Post Malone delivering the program like “The Postman” to Jerry Jones. It also included cameos from quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Getting the Grammy nominee to participate ended up being an easy task. Post’s father is Rich Post, the assistant food and beverage manager for the Cowboys.
The output videos can cover the full range of style. Some go entertainment trail, others have integrated brainstorming sessions where they can highlight different ideas. The Kansas City Chiefs chose to chat with coach Andy Reid looking forward to the challenge of each adversary while The Pittsburgh Steelers used Legos to build their schedule.
In the case of the Denver Broncos, they looked for ways to dominate last year. Their video of Peyton Manning as a trainee won a Webby Award in the Sports Social Video category.
“It’s definitely been a challenge to come up with creative ideas year after year, especially after we had such success last year,” said Caroline Deisley, senior director of social media strategy for the Broncos. “It’s almost stressful, because as we try to come up with our own idea, you wonder what the other 31 teams are going to do and you hope your video goes beyond that.
“Sometimes it’s a very high budget, very produced video that looks really cool. Or it’s more a bit like what we did last year with Peyton where we spent $2.99 and filmed in 30 minutes. It was just his comedic timing, and I can’t believe you asked Peyton Manning to do that, it led to success there.”
Marc Ganis, chairman of sports consultancy Sportscorp Ltd., said the team’s productions evolved by seeing the activity on social media once the schedules were released.
“It grew organically after teams saw how many retweets the schedule would fit with conversations about games fans were planning to attend or other fanbases talking to each other once the dates were known,” did he declare. “Now it’s one of the marquee events on the NFL schedule and was a way for the league to stay in the headlines in May after the draft.”
The Seattle Seahawks had one of the first viral schedule release videos in 2016 when they did “Making the Schedule.” The two-minute video showed ingredients being put together to bake cupcakes, followed by cupcakes showing each team.
The competition began to heat up in 2019 when Atlanta released a Video about “Game of Thrones” and Carolina made retro video games. Last year, Cleveland was the only team that didn’t make a short schedule posting video. The Browns chose to do a half-hour special.
“We have known and seen how heavily clubs are invested in their content production. They have the best gear and the best talent. They are basically production houses in their own right,” said Gazelle Rezvan, Account Manager for Club Relations. “It’s not just the best of the NFL, it’s amazing content.”
Videos are also a great way for teams to promote sponsors and drive ticket sales. Most teams opted to put single-game seats on sale as soon as the schedule was released.
Laura Lefton, vice president of business development for NFL clubs, said ticket sales for the few days following the release of the schedule were up 150% from 2019.
While most teams change their minds every year, the Los Angeles Chargers stick to a consistent theme every year – mocking their opponents’ fanbases. the Calendar 2019 in video featured stock footage and last year’s was edge rusher Joey Bosa hosts a PowerPoint presentation which included subtle hits in each city.
Most see it as good fun. However, Cleveland affiliate Fox TV sent a care package after the PowerPoint slide went to Cleveland’s nickname “Mistake on the Lake” and added that there was nothing to do there.
Jason Lavine, Chargers vice president of content and production, said the brand of irreverent humor is one of the reasons the organization won a Webby for one of the top social media accounts,
“Our voice is funny. This organization has embraced fun, and part of the fun is not just enjoying making fun of yourself, but also having fun with others,” he said. “We never chase teams so much. than us”. I take on the fan base and maybe the culture of the city.
Like others in the league, Lavine is interested to see what other teams have up their sleeves this year as well as the reception the Chargers video will receive.
“I think anyone who works on a team would tell you that I think we’re kinda laughed at because we’re team media. There’s a simple sense of gender, well, they’re lesser in some ways. But we strongly believe that we can compete and create at all levels,” he said.
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