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More NFL clips, plus classic games, are coming to YouTube

Pro football is TV's most valuable property — but the NFL is happy to sell the digital guys some slices.

Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
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.

Pro football is the most valuable property on TV. But the NFL is happy to distribute bits and pieces of itself online, too.

Latest evidence: The NFL has re-upped a distribution deal with YouTube, which means the world's biggest video site will have more clips to show its viewers when the new season kicks off this fall.

The NFL will show a handful of old games on YouTube, too. Nothing from the current season, but "three of the most memorable games" for each of the league's 32 teams will be available in their entirety this fall; if I understand the NFL's comms team correctly, fans will be able to vote for their favorites.

The NFL first signed with YouTube in 2015. The new deal, like the old one, means that NFL queries will get special treatment from Google search: Clips, scores and other NFL info will show up in Google's "OneBox" results format at the top of results pages.

The new deal means the NFL has deals with most of the big digital platforms, including Twitter (which will stream 10 live NFL games this fall) and Snapchat.

One big omission is Facebook, which had a deal to distribute highlight clips in 2015 but didn't renew it. A big sticking point for Facebook and the NFL — as well as all the other big sports leagues — is Facebook's opposition to sticking pre-roll ads before video clips; pro sports officials say they can't find advertisers who want to sponsor the clips without pre-rolls.

The NFL YouTube deal is also a reminder that YouTube continues to be very interested in sports. Last week, for instance, at YouTube's "Brandcast" presentation, the video site gave NBA commissioner Adam Silver significant stage time to announce a highlights deal.

And while YouTube didn't bid on the NFL's live game package this year, it has definitely been interested in streaming live games when various rights deals, including the "Sunday Ticket" currently owned by AT&T/DirecTV, have come up.

UDPATE: The clip I wanted to show you, sadly, won't play on this site. But here's another one of my favorites (Kids: did you know Ahmad Rashad used to be a famous football player?)

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