Martellus, who won a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots, will bring his knowledge of the game and his own creative touch to the hour-long show about the week’s upcoming games, produced by Yahoo Sports and Complex Networks. “Mostly Football” kicks off next Thursday, Sept. 6, at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and will run weekly on Thursdays throughout the NFL season (just ahead of “Thursday Night Football”) for a total of 26 weeks.
For Yahoo Sports, which sits in Verizon’s Oath group, “Mostly Football” is part of the telcom company’s investment stepped-up investment in sports — and in this case specifically, Verizon’s five-year deal with the NFL reached in late 2017. Under the pact, valued in the neighborhood of $2 billion, Verizon has rights to distribute the full lineup of live NFL games to any mobile device in the U.S. (with the exception of Sunday afternoon out-of-market games, which remain on DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket).
The goal for Yahoo Sports has been to build out a broader set of content for the NFL season, centered around the live games, with original content and fantasy football all in one place.
“We are driven by serving fans in ways they haven’t been served,” said Geoff Reiss, GM of Yahoo Sports. “And one of the real opportunities in terms of creating these conversations with football fans and creating these narratives is really being able to present perspectives like that of Martellus.”
“Mostly Football” will be shot out of Yahoo Sports’ L.A. studio in Playa Vista, and feature field reports throughout the football season. Alongside Bennett, the show will feature two regular co-hosts: comedian James Davis and Ben Lyons, an entertainment reporter and sports commentator. Other contributors are set to include Yahoo Sports’ fantasy football writer Liz Loza and Adam Caparell, co-host of Complex’s “Out of Bounds” who writes about sports betting.
Complex, jointly owned by Verizon and Hearst, was a natural partner for the show given its focus on the culture of sports, said Sarah Crennan, Yahoo Sports’ head of content. “The lifestyle of the game also is something we want to reflect,” she said. “We’re looking to introduce an immersive show, to give fans a lead-in on Thursdays before the weekend’s game.”
Bennett, who’s the younger brother of Philadelphia Eagles player Michael Bennett Jr., is not just a former footballer, according to Crennan: “He’s also a creator, and he’s been exceptionally involved with the show’s development at every step of the way.”
The show will stream live on both Yahoo Sports and Complex sites, and will be available on the Yahoo Sports app and the Yahoo Sports Facebook page. Additional behind-the scenes content and other video will be available across brand platforms and social channels.
Yahoo Sports and Complex hired media producer Bob Lifton as showrunner for “Mostly Football,” which also has a dedicated production and social-media staff.
“Mostly Football” joins other original programming across Yahoo Sports, with highly variable runtimes designed for different use cases. Yahoo Sports’ “Fantasy Football Live” is enters its 13th season, starting Sept. 9. The show is broadcast live every Sunday, featuring Yahoo Sports’ Brad Evans, Andy Behrens and Liz Loza.
Yahoo Sports also recently bowed “The Rush” (which debuted June 4), a mobile-first, short-form morning sports show hosted by comedian Jared Quay that runs about 2 minutes per segment; and the “The Spin” (which debuted Aug. 16), a breaking-news and analysis show featuring Yahoo Sports’ roster of editorial talent that runs 3-7 minutes.