The NFL is branching out further into the entertainment marketplace by teaming up with Skydance Media to create a studio that will produce sports content for various platforms.
The NFL, via its investment arm 32 Equity, and Skydance Media are both investing in Skydance Sports, the partners announced Tuesday.
Hans Schroeder, NFL Media’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the league has been exploring a partnership like this for over a year and pointed to $60 billion in investments by companies into content, mainly in the digital space.
“For us, the idea and opportunity to create and tell more stories, certainly around football but also other sports, and do that on platforms where fans are increasingly spending their time is something we’ve looked at,” Schroeder said. “This was about finding a partner to create a content studio that can create across the sports space and complement with scripted and unscripted programs as well as other forms of content.”
Football will remain at the forefront, but the deal allows NFL Films to branch out into other areas that might have been harder to get into in the past. Skydance was the production company for “Top Gun: Maverick,” which was released this year and has produced shows and movies for Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+ and Netflix.
While unscripted series like “The Last Dance” and “Drive to Survive” have resonated with fans, NFL Films was one of the first in the genre with the premiere of “Hard Knocks” in 2001. The “Hard Knocks” franchise mainly follows a team throughout training camp but has added an in-season series.
Scripted series, such as Apple TV’s “Ted Lasso,” have also proven popular with fans.
“When we set the vision of Skydance Sports a year ago, we aspired to create a pipeline for the very best sports storytelling,” Skydance Media President & COO Jesse Sisgold said in a statement. “Partnering with the NFL and NFL Films gives us the power, privilege, and expertise to do this at the highest level possible, all while celebrating sports, teams, and athletes around the world.”
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Joe Reedy, The Associated Press