Facebook has won a big partner in the form of the National Football League in its bid to expand its online video ambitions. The league will post short video clips on the social networking site, including game highlights such as the recent spectacular catch by New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., as well as NFL news and fantasy football advice, says a report from The Wall Street Journal, which cites sources familiar with the plans.

Facebook Inc Scores Big With NFL Video Clips And Verizon Ads

Facebook and NFL to share ad revenue

After the clip, ads from Verizon Wireless will reportedly be shown, as the carrier will pay the social networking website to promote it within the NFL fans’ Facebook news feed. Facebook and the NFL will share the ad revenue, but there were no details about the financial terms. The Menlo Park-based company is reportedly planning to cut similar deals with other sponsors.

According to a Facebook spokeswoman, “This is a small video sponsorship test, and we will be evaluating how people, publishers, and marketers respond to this kind of co-branded video content on Facebook.”

For both Facebook and NFL, the timing of the deal is perfect, as the NFL regular season is drawing to a close with key playoff places still undecided.

An important deal for Facebook

Facebook is marching ahead with its aggressive strategy of becoming a dominant player in web video and earning more ad dollars in revenue. For Facebook, it is a big deal because NFL rights are something that are not very easy to secure. The league is known for being very strict and doesn’t easily give the rights to its content. The NFL does not allow its clips to be published on social media, and it does not have an official YouTube channel. Even the NFL’s TV partners, which shell out billions of dollars for the rights to air NFL games, do not always enjoy the freedom to stream on mobile devices, says The WSJ.

The Facebook-NFL deal is somewhat similar to the Twitter-NFL deal entered into last year. Twitter and the NFL together agreed to deliver short highlight clips followed by ads in users’ Twitter feeds.

Apart from teaming up with brands, Facebook is working on other strategies to enhance its web video offerings. The company is making efforts to woo YouTube content creators, asking them to upload video clips straight to Facebook rather than embedding YouTube videos. Facebook is also reportedly in talks with traditional media companies to use the platform as a video distribution outlet.