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NFL Video Highlights -- And More -- Come to YouTube and Google

Just in time for the Superbowl: A deal to bring video clips to the world's biggest video site.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

It took a long time but it’s finally done, just in time for the Super Bowl: Pro football finally has a deal with Google to distribute some of its video.

Starting this week, official NFL highlight clips will show up in Google’s YouTube, as well as in Google search results themselves. Google will also provide detailed information about games and scores — including kickoff times as well as the networks that are airing the games — via its “OneBox” results format, which it uses to show off extended answers to search queries instead of simple links.

The NFL says Google will sell ads against the league’s information and clips and share revenue with the NFL; the deal also calls for Google to promote the NFL on YouTube and in other places.

The NFL still wants you to watch its games on the TV networks that have paid a lot of money to show those games, so the main idea of the pact is to steer viewers toward the NFL’s TV partners or its own site. But the league says it will give Google some “in-game” clips to show, starting with Sunday’s Super Bowl.

You can get a sense of what the NFL and Google are doing right now by searching for “Seahawks,” which will give you this result:

We can’t show you what this would look like with video, since there’s none to show off yet, but Google provided a mock-up of what that would look like on your phone:

This deal isn’t surprising, since YouTube already has deals with pro baseball, basketball and hockey. And the NFL has already struck video deals with Twitter and Facebook, and has always said Google would be an obvious partner.

Google also did something similar with ESPN last year during the World Cup, where it provided detailed information about games in its search results and tried to steer searchers to ESPN and to watch the matches.

I still find it fascinating that Google is striking commercial deals about the stuff it shows in its search results, as opposed to straight-up ads. But I have yet to hear anyone carp about it. And there’s certainly a logical rationale for working with the one source that has the rights to provide the information searchers want. Still, it’s a long way from basic blue links.

Meanwhile, a reminder that the really interesting deal that Google and the NFL talked about a couple of years ago — showing actual NFL games on YouTube — isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

Last year, the NFL re-upped with DirecTV for its “Sunday Ticket” package, which means almost all of its rights packages are locked up in long-term TV deals. The one exception: A package of Thursday night games that CBS will air next year, but that may go back on the market the year after that.

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