Olympic video rights to highlights are highly important, and NBC has long been very stingy with them; ESPN and others have been forced to rely on still images instead of video for their own Olympic coverage. NBC has finally decided to give an outside platform some video rights, though, and it just happens to be…Snapchat? Bloomberg’s Sarah Frier reports that Snapchat has struck a deal for Olympic video rights, and that BuzzFeed will be involved in curating them:

The Olympics are coming to Snapchat. The app scored a deal with Comcast Corp.’s NBC to show highlights from the 2016 Summer Games, the first time the U.S. network has agreed to share video of the sporting contest.

Snapchat Inc. will set up a dedicated channel on the mobile app for the games in Rio De Janeiro. Media company BuzzFeed will curate short clips and behind-the-scenes content into a Discover channel on the app for two weeks, while Snapchat creates daily “live stories” using content from NBC, athletes and sports fans at the scene.

“We have never allowed the distribution of any game highlights off NBC’s own platforms,” said Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics. But Snapchat “really effectively reaches a very important demographic in the United States, and is very important to our efforts to assemble the large, massive audience that will show up to watch the Olympic Games.”

This fits into a larger pattern of online companies gaining sports video rights, from Twitter winning the rights to live-stream Thursday Night Football this fall to MLB’s efforts with Snapchat, Yahoo and Facebook Live. The interesting idea here is that it’s not just about the direct revenue for NBC, though, as Snapchat isn’t paying directly: the companies will share revenue from ads sold on this content, with NBC leading in selling them. The idea for NBC is to have users see this stuff on Snapchat and then tune in to the Games on NBC. They’re also reportedly working on partnerships with Facebook and Twitter. The BuzzFeed connection makes sense too, as NBCUniversal invested $200 million in that site recently. We’ll see how this plays out for NBC, but it’s certainly interesting that they’re moving away from their traditional reluctance to let outside sites use highlights. That could make the 2016 Games an even more social Olympics.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.

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