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How the NFL Leverages PhotoShelter and Socialie to Maximize Engagement & Content ROI

PhotoShelter and Socialie help the NFL manage their resources better and deliver content faster and easier than ever before.

  • 1.2M+ assets stored & managed via PhotoShelter
  • 1.5k+ players on Socialie for content distribution
  • 40M+ social impressions achieved through 13 photos of players with the Vince Lombardi Trophy shared after the Superbowl

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Connecting with 200+ Million Fans Globally

The National Football League (NFL) has been building a legacy in sports entertainment, reaching nearly 200 million fans worldwide. As a media leader, the NFL has evolved its operations to meet the modern demands of content delivery, relying heavily on powerful tech like PhotoShelter and Socialie to maintain and expand.

The Challenge: Real-Time Content and Enhanced ROI

The NFL must keep its global audience engaged through fresh, timely, and relevant content distributed across multiple platforms. The NFL’s photography team is central to this effort, catering to various internal teams such as PR, events, marketing, and digital media. Players also request frequent personal content updates to enhance their social media presence.

  • Constant demands for new content. The NFL’s content creation is a massive operation, with the team handling content for 250 regular season games, playoffs, and a significant portion of the preseason. The sheer volume of images and the speed at which they need to be processed and distributed puts enormous pressure on the team. 
  • Need for real-time media access. The photography team must deliver timely, relevant content to satisfy the content needs of various NFL departments—from PR and marketing to digital platforms. Managing the continuous demands requires a tailored approach to content creation and distribution.
  • Analytics for tracking content ROI. With increased pressure to create and distribute more content faster, the NFL photography team faced the challenge of managing resources efficiently. They needed a reliable method to track content performance to measure ROI accurately and guide future investments.

“We often get specific requests from players. They’ll ask us for photos of their outfits when they get off the bus, etc. We want them to be active on social media so if they’re asking us for something, we’re going to do everything we can to get it to them. We also get constant requests from other groups for specific photos, so we have a weekly shot list that we aim to get to.”

Ben Liebenberg, Director of Photography

The Solution: Transforming NFL Content Management with PhotoShelter and Socialie

The NFL struggled with slow content delivery and inadequate measurement of content ROI, leading to inefficiencies and missed opportunities. The integration of PhotoShelter and Socialie in the NFL’s content management allows for faster, more targeted content delivery and smarter resource allocation.

  • Real-time distribution and personalization. Connected cameras send images directly to editors who live-edit during games. Photos then flow into PhotoShelter, tagged with metadata for seamless organization. Content automatically routes to Socialie where the NFL social team curates and distributes assets to players for instant social posting.
  • Increased reach and content ROI. With Socialie and PhotoShelter, the NFL can track engagement metrics and assess the impact of specific content pieces across different channels. “At the Superbowl, we did post-games portraits with the top players of the winning team and their coaches. We got portraits of Patrick Mahomes kissing the trophy, which went out to all social media channels. That post alone hit more than 9.9m impressions and 1.2m engagements, and became the Top 0.01% of content ever on NFL.” – Ben Liebenberg, Director of Photography



  • Tailored content the players need. Socialie has revolutionized how the NFL communicates with its players, offering a personalized content delivery system that caters to the preferences of each player. Ben told us, “We service 1,500+ NFL players with Socialie. As soon as a new player onboards with the NFL, we get them on Socialie so we can share content with them throughout their time with us.”

“There are different types of fans out there, NFL fans, team fans, individual player fans. We want to be able to hit them all with relevant content as much as we can and as close to real-time as we can.”

Ben Liebenberg, Director of Photography

Fast and Strategic Content Powering the NFL’s Growth

The NFL’s relentless pursuit of audience growth and engagement demands a continuous flow of relevant content. By combining PhotoShelter’s organizational power with Socialie’s distribution capabilities, they achieve this seamlessly.

“What really excites me is how we get content from the field to the fans. We’re all in the business of speed, everyone wants something as soon as it’s shown on TV. So we’re always trying to develop ways to speed things up,” said Ben. “By the time the players are back in the locker room they have a text on their phones through Socialie with their own content. We try to capitalize on the game window. We work relentlessly to get content to the social team, to the players, and all other stakeholders to drive engagement.”

Go Behind the Scenes with Ben Liebenberg, NFL Director of Photography, and Andrew Fingerman, PhotoShelter CEO

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