Friday September 9th, 2016

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Music is woven into the fabric of sports around the world. The NFL has become a prime example, with pump-up music blasting in players’ ears before games, and on stadium loudspeakers during them. With the 2016–17 NFL season kicking off tonight, Spotify and Athlete Content & Entertainment (ACE Media)—the relatively new content producing arm of the NFL Players Association—announced their new Trading Playlists series.

The seven-part video series features some of the NFL’s biggest names sharing their Spotify playlists with a teammate or counterpart, in short, documentary-style episodes. Tyler Eifert, Rashad Jennings, Stefon Diggs, Kony Ealy and many more players are featured.

Fittingly, the first episode of the Trading Playlists series features Von Miller, last year’s Super Bowl MVP and his teammate DeMarcus Ware. The defensive stars share their playlists in Miller’s basement getaway.

All seven episodes of the series are currently available exclusively on Spotify’s mobile app, for U.S. customers only. Scott Langerman, the CEO of ACE Media, sees this series as the start of a potentially fruitful relationship.

“Working with an industry pioneer with the global reach of Spotify and the team at Collab was a unique opportunity to showcase a side of our players that their fans don’t often get to see, through a medium—music—that unites athletes across all sports,” he said. “Most importantly we—and our players—have had a blast creating this series and look forward to working with Spotify to bridge the gap between sports and entertainment for many years to come.”

ACE Media has partnerships with a wide range of companies, from media outlets like The Players’ Tribune and Bleacher Report to Nike. And this isn’t the first collaboration between the NFL brand and Spotify. Madden 2017’s full 40-song playlist is available on the digital music service.

The NFL is by far the most popular sports league in the U.S., but even with all of the media attention and coverage, players can seem inaccessible. Trading Playlists episodes are brief, but they give NFL fans an inside look into a very relatable aspect of players’ lives.

Fans see players arriving on game day with headphones and warming up to their personalized playlists. But fans rarely know what they are actually listening to. Now they do.

Trading Playlists helps to create a more personal connection between fan and player. If this series is a success, NFL fans will surely see—and more importantly, hear—much more from it.

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