It was a little over a week ago when two of the larger players in sports announced a significant strategic parnership. With an impressive list of assets between NBC and Yahoo, the unexpected alliance has the potential to be a game changing move within the sports media industry. By the same token, similar media partnerships have over time proven to be hard to implement and maintain and have often dissolved without any substantial value added to either entity. With that in mind, I got in touch with Rick Cordella, SVP and GM of Digital Media at NBC Sports Group, to get some more information on how exactly both companies plan to benefit from working with each other going forward.
Q: An All Things D article from October mentioned that a NBC/Yahoo partnership had been "in the works for some time." When and how did conversations take root between both companies?
A: We worked with Yahoo! Sports before on a previous Sunday Night Football agreement. However, the preliminary discussions regarding this specific partnership began about a year ago.
Q: It seems that video distribution of live events and original programming is the centerpiece of this partnership. A lot of companies like SI, SBN, and B/R are ramping up original web video production but have yet to really move beyond a niche audience. What can we expect in terms of original video production given the combined editorial assets of this partnership?
A: NBC Sports has a 70-year history of producing best-in-class video. It’s in our DNA, and we have a new, 350,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art production facility with a studio dedicated solely for web content.
As you mention, both Yahoo! Sports and NBC Sports have great assets and talented personalities. We fully intend to utilize them to produce compelling original content for sports fans.
Another major piece of video is live streaming. NBC Sports has acquired the rights to some of the most valuable video content in sports. We have an impressive live streaming portfolio of successes with the Olympics, the Super Bowl and Sunday Night Football. And it will grow exponentially in the coming months and years as we acquire more content and begin streaming NBC Sports Network and Golf Channel content. In 2012, outside of the Olympics we streamed approximately 100 different events. By 2014, we’ll be streaming between 800-1,000 sporting events. Yahoo! will link and promote to our NBC Sports Live Extra video player in a more strategic and comprehensive way than ever before, allowing sports fans who are visiting their site to easily access our video.