NFL and AwesomenessTV Want to Win Over Young Fans With a New Video Series

First episodes feature interviews with mascots and an owner

Headshot of Christine Birkner

Even though football is the most-watched sport in America, the NFL is always looking for new ways to engage younger audiences with unique and fresh content. For its latest effort, the league is partnering with AwesomenessTV to take a behind-the-scenes look at the NFL and the people who run it.

The multi-part video series, "In the NFL," lifts the curtain on how the league functions.

"A 17-year-old girl doesn't want to watch the same content as her mom or her dad. The NFL wanted to create content for this audience that wasn't the highlight reels of football games," said Paul Kelly, chief partnerships officer at AwesomenessTV. "There's a lot of cool narratives that exist within the organization, so we went to work uncovering those stories that happen off the field."

Videos include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Buffalo Bills' stadium with the team's co-owner Kim Pegula, one of the few female owners in the NFL. Pegula meets with team staffers, offers career tips for young women and talks about engaging the next generation of fans.

In another video, YouTube stars the Merrell Twins take a tour of the Kansas City Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium, interviewing the woman who rides the horse mascot during Chiefs games and the guy who dresses as the team's mascot, K.C. Wolf.

"The younger generation is a growing part of our fan base, and we wanted to continue to give them valuable and enriching experiences, and reach them where they are," said Johanna Faries, vp of marketing and fan strategy at the NFL.

NFL viewership among women dropped between 7 percent and 9 percent from 2013 to 2015, according to Nielsen. Overall NFL ratings at the end of 2016 were down, but there was an uptick in ratings during this month's playoffs. Faries said that the videos aren't a reaction to these statistics.

"It's about how to continue to inspire youth," Faries said. "This gives them a behind-the-scenes look into the NFL that they otherwise wouldn't have."

@ChristineBirkne Christine Birkner is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers marketing and advertising.