The National Football League has officially come to YouTube.
The league announced Monday that it's finally created its own channel on the world's biggest online video network, as part of a broader partnership with YouTube's parent Google, which includes NFL videos, news and other information available directly in Google searches.
The new tie-up, coming just days before Super Bowl XLIX, is one more part of the NFL's effort to expand its presence on the Internet, as it hopes to maintain its huge audience even as more users are switching over to streaming-video services like Hulu and Netflix. The NFL in the past has been very protective of its content, working to push people to watch its games on TV or go to its website, though that strategy hasn't always worked. YouTube users have already uploaded plenty of unsanctioned NFL videos, so the new channel could be seen as a blocking play.
The new YouTube channel will be updated regularly and include game previews, in-game highlights, post-game recaps as well as clips featuring news, analysis, fantasy football advice, and other content from NFL Network and NFL.com. The channel already includes dozens of new videos, including a Super Bowl preview and highlights from several top players' 2014 seasons.
"We continue to see an insatiable appetite for digital video content, and this partnership further expands fans' ability to discover and access NFL content throughout the year," Hans Schroeder, an NFL senior vice president of media strategy and business development, said in a statement.
Google search results will now include official NFL video, along with related news and other information in a box at the top of the search results. The NFL said Monday that kickoff time and broadcast information for every NFL game will also be displayed prominently in these searches. That part of the deal isn't entirely new, though, since Google has already been providing that information at the top of its search results.
As part of the NFL's push to grow its footprint online, the league launched the NFL Now network in August. The video service allows fans to watch personalized, on-demand videos on their desktops, iOS and Android mobile devices, and streaming services such as Apple TV, Roku and Xbox. The free service includes video highlights of games, press conferences, and videos produced by NFL Films.