Clubhouse and the NFL Are Bringing Social Audio Exclusives to Draft Week
The NFL is turning to social audio app Clubhouse to promote the 2021 NFL draft. Clubhouse will provide a venue for official NFL discussions via the league’s club on the app in a collaboration that builds on Clubhouse’s recent experiments in supporting content and sponsored events.
The NFL will host rooms about the upcoming draft on Clubhouse all week both before and during the actual draft, which begins on Thursday, April 29 and runs through Saturday, May 1. The rooms will include discussions about which players will be drafted by which teams, a mock draft run by fans, conversations with alumni of college football teams, and an analysis of the draft and its 259 picks when it’s over. The rooms will all be run through the NFL’s official Clubhouse club, which will moderate the rooms and give opportunities for fans to come up on the virtual stage to ask questions of the various guests. The arrangement with the NFL is Clubhouse’s first big deal with a sports league, but likely only the beginning of several partnerships along similar lines, especially in the world of sports. Clubhouse hired long-time sports marketer Sean Brown as head of sports partnerships just last week to organize these kinds of content deals.
“The NFL’s commitment to innovation is matched only by their devotion to their fans and we are proud to welcome the NFL to Clubhouse,” Brown said. “The Draft is one of the biggest events of the year for football fans, and we know that millions of creators will be discussing, debating and celebrating throughout the week.”
The partnership with the NFL is Clubhouse’s latest effort to leverage the enormous growth it saw earlier this year into a viable business model. Creating and promoting content appears to be where the startup sees the most opportunity, as it recently added a payment feature enabling people to send money to others on the platform in a kind of patronage system. Clubhouse is also currently judging applicants for its Creator First Accelerator, who will get financial and production support with a stipend, equipment, and promotional help. That Clubhouse is going after the sports market is also notable in the wake of Spotify’s acquisition of Betty Labs, the startup behind the sports-focused social audio app Locker Room. While Spotify’s plans are much broader than just sports, it’s suggestive that sports may be the first major home for social audio fans after it stops being a novelty. The NFL partnership may help Clubhouse stand out from Spotify and the many other new social audio outlets popping up like Twitter Spaces, Telegram’s Voice Chats, and Facebook’s upcoming venture.