Last summer I decided to explore what was going on with the YouTube channel for all 32 teams. I don’t remember what my motivation was at the time, other than the fact that I can be an obsessive completist and I was fascinated by the fact that some channels had a ton of production value and others were literally dead.
My strange motivations reached an Excel spreadsheet — as they often do — and this past weekend I decided to re-visit all 32 teams to see what had changed. Given the coronavirus pandemic, it was also to simply find out what was happening around the league at a time where there is much less news and information about what is happening around the league.
What I found is that quite a lot has changed with regards to how each NFL team is handling their YouTube channels. And that the LA Rams had grown the most, gaining more than three times as many followers as what they had in 2019 — easily the most growth of any NFL team.
But they also had more room to grow than nearly all other 31 teams. There were a number of things that were quite surprising at the time:
- The Rams had fewer than 8,000 subscribers and whatever content they had on the channel prior to training camp last year was scrubbed. It was a completely fresh channel and had very few people watching. Actually, this is still the case for most teams: not that many people watch or subscribe, relative to other YouTube genres.
- But LA wasn’t the only team without much of a YouTube channel. The Cincinnati Bengals had basically nothing and there were fewer than 1,000 subs! The Houston Texans channel was bare and they didn’t reveal how many subscribers they had. This was also true of the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, though the Lions did have a really good series called “Inside the Den” that is like a mini-Hard Knocks.
- Detroit wasn’t the only team with a mini-Hard Knocks style series. The Cowboys, Patriots, 49ers, Vikings, Raiders, Chiefs, Cardinals, Bucs, and several others had something with a bit more style than simply posting interviews, press conferences, or in some cases, nothing at all.
- Channels for teams like the Seahawks, Packers, Eagles, Bears, Steelers, Giants, Saints, Washington, Dolphins, Texans, Bengals, and Rams were doing nothing or very little. I made notes of either “boilerplate” or “boring” or “bad” for these teams.
- The top five teams in subscribers: Browns (147k), Patriots (107k), Cowboys (104k), Vikings (95k), Eagles (92k).
Now for what’s going on this year.
In the course of the last year, plenty has changed for the YouTube channel of the Rams, as well as quite a few other teams.
One thing that I noticed is that no teams seem to be allowed to neglect their YouTube channels anymore. There were a lot of pages last summer that didn’t have new content in weeks or months. That’s not the case in 2020, as every team seemed to have a new video on their page within the last day, as I was checking.
Most of these videos are Zoom press conferences or interviews with players and coaches, discussions about the team with reporters and guests, or general training camp live streaming and footage. Given that fans and media don’t get to attend camp as usual, it may simply be that each team wants to keep people informed and interested as Week 1 approaches in less than a month.
Among those posting daily content are the LA Rams, a change of form to what they were doing in 2019 and previous to that. As expected, or at least hoped for by owner Stan Kroenke and the NFL as a whole, the Rams channel is growing as they enter their fourth year back in Los Angeles and their first year in SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park.
The Rams YouTube channel now has 29,000 subscribers, a rate of growth much higher than any other team in the league.
- Rams, 8k to 29k
- Chiefs, 39k to 115k
- Bucs, 16k to 46k
- Cardinals, 18k to 49k
- Giants, 29k to 74k
- 49ers, 69k to 148k
- Ravens, 64k to 132k
The Rams went from having the second-fewest known subscribers to at least passing by most of the AFC South in the past year: Colts (15k to 27k), Texans (unknown to 23k) and Jaguars (16k to 23k).
As to the other teams on the list, we know that Kansas City won the Super Bowl, Tampa Bay signed Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, Arizona is entering year two of Kyler Murray and added DeAndre Hopkins, the 49ers went to the Super Bowl, and the Ravens have the reigning MVP. The Giants, maybe just because they’re in New York or fans are more curious about Daniel Jones than I thought.
The team that has experienced the slowest rate of growth is probably not a surprise: Washington Football Team has gone from 31k subs to 36k subs. They’ve added 5,000 subscribers at a time that the Chiefs added 96k and even the Cowboys added 76k to an already-high total.
Even the Bengals have added nearly 8,000, surpassing where Los Angeles was a year ago. The Packers are the only team still not revealing their number.
What’s more is that the Rams are also on Hard Knocks this year, sharing the stage with the Chargers as the NFL hopes to attract more fans to the idea of coming to Los Angeles to watch football in their new stadium. When it is possible to do so. That not only gives fans more coverage of the team, but potentially more ideas about where to take their own content in the future.
And who doesn’t need more content? You probably won’t get complaints from more subscribers.