NFL renews X partnership without announcement or quotes from league

Earlier this week, the NFL and X quietly renewed their partnership. Well, it was quiet from one party's perspective.

The NFL has issued no statement and provided no quotes to commemorate the latest renewal of their deal. The only announcement or quotes we can find (and try we did) came from X.

From X news: "The [NFL] and [X} have renewed their content partnership which dates back to 2013, with a new multi-year agreement. X will continue to delight users with NFL in-progress game highlights including all touchdowns moments after they happen in the game. Under this multiyear deal extension, the NFL and X will bring even more custom content for brands to sponsor in the form of co-branded highlights, sponsored Spaces, polls, and other creative formats. Let's go!"

X president Linda Yaccarino re-posted the announcement with unbridled enthusiasm: "A dream team of epic proportions! Whether you're at the game or streaming it live, the energy from fans is contagious on X — sharing the thrill of every tackle and touchdown as it happens!"

For the prior renewal of the arrangement, in 2021 between the NFL and Twitter, the NFL provided quotes.

So why has the league said nothing about the latest renewal? It might have something to do with striking a balance between the league's stated values and opinions of X owner Elon Musk that conflict with those views.

For instance, NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent posted on Wednesday a message regarding the inclusive nature of flag football, with "girls, women, people with disabilities, and families who can't afford full-contact equipment" able to participate.

That prompted this response from X user Nancy Levin Stearns, who has more than 23,000 followers. "This is great, Troy! Question: How does the [NFL] reconcile its commitment to diversity and inclusivity while announcing renewed partnership with Elon Musk's X? Musk said, DEI must DIE.' . . . [Chief NFL spokesman] Brian McCarthy, can we have a conversation about this?"

Musk did indeed say "DEI must DIE." The NFL believes the opposite.

In lieu of cutting ties with X, the NFL apparently has tried to find a middle ground wherein it still does business with X but doesn't make any sudden moves or draw much attention to the overall arrangement.

Basically, the NFL would prefer that no one notice the decision to renew its contract with X, presumably in light of the sharp conflict between the league's beliefs and those of the man who owns the platform. It's a tough spot for any business that needs to reach an audience.

The NFL's approach is, in part, to make sure as few people as possible notice the tough spot the NFL is in, when it comes to its options for social-media content partnerships.