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Snapchat’s new SportsCenter show is missing something important: Actual NFL highlights

Turns out ESPN doesn’t have the rights to show NFL football inside Snapchat.

a football fan sitting in the stadium wearing a paper bag over his head Getty Images

Earlier this week, ESPN announced a two-year deal with Snap to publish a daily version of its flagship highlights show, SportsCenter, inside the Snapchat app.

There’s only one problem: ESPN doesn’t have the rights to show highlights from the NFL inside of Snapchat. Which is a bit of an issue, considering that it’s arguably the most popular sport in America, and we’re in the middle of the NFL season.

“Due to content restrictions, we are not allowed to play NFL highlights on Snapchat,” the show’s host, Cy Amundson, said during Tuesday morning’s show. ESPN can show NFL rights on television, but it doesn’t have the necessary digital rights to show them inside Snapchat.

Instead, Amundson briefly recapped the NFL’s “Monday Night Football” matchup with paper cutouts of players taped to wooden sticks. “See, just as good,” he joked.

Clever, but no. It’s tough to have a highlights show without highlights. Ironically, Snapchat does have some NFL highlights, but it’s through a partnership the company has directly with the NFL. So you can see “Monday Night Football” footage on Snapchat, just not through SportsCenter.

We’ve asked ESPN if it will face the same rights restrictions with other leagues — we’ve seen some NBA footage in some of the show’s early episodes. We’ll update if we hear back.

Update: We asked them if they’d have other rights issues. They sent us this:

“SportsCenter on Snapchat is a fast-paced, personality driven show that is about delivering a combination of news, a variety of highlights and commentary to a new audience.”

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