Twitter has won streaming rights for the NFL 2016 regular season. The National Football League (NFL) confirmed that it had chosen the micro-blogging network as its exclusive global partner for streaming its Thursday night games.
Twitter has gotten into online content streaming and begun with one of the most coveted associations of an insanely popular game. A deal with the NFL will allow Twitter to show Thursday night football games online. Twitter managed to outbid big organizations like Verizon Communications Inc., Yahoo! Inc., and Amazon.com Inc. Incidentally, Facebook was quite interested in securing the online NFL streaming rights, but dropped out of the contest last week, confirmed people privy to the information.
— Javier Licea (@jlicea) April 5, 2016
Twitter will stream 10 Thursday night football games to the public. Additionally, unlike Pay-Per-View, Twitter has confirmed that all games will be available to watch for free. Besides the streaming, the deal also includes in-game highlights as well as pre-game broadcasts from players and teams on Periscope, Twitter’s live-streaming video service, reported Yahoo. Clearly, Twitter intends to grab as much attention and for as long as possible starting with build-up to a game, all the way through to post-match commentary.
— Twitter Advertising (@TwitterAds) April 5, 2016
These games will also be available on NBC, CBS, and the NFL Network, confirmed NFL through an official statement about the development. Essentially, this means, for the first time, viewers have the option of watching matches through digital, cable, or traditional broadcast means, reported CNet.
Yahoo paid $20M to stream a single NFL game last year; Twitter apparently paid $10M for 10 games this year. About that YHOO stock price…
— Matthew Tomaszewicz (@shinguardian) April 5, 2016
While Twitter may have won the bidding process by offering the highest amount, there are multiple reasons that make Twitter an ideal online streaming partner for NFL. The hugely popular mainstream content will undoubtedly give Twitter a competitive edge over other social media platforms and online streaming companies. The micro-blogging network is now poised to become a go-to place for live events, and the platform’s core offering allows viewers and fans to instantly discuss and react to the live events.
— Roger Goodell (@nflcommish) April 5, 2016
However, till date, Twitter users could only react, but with the NFL deal, they can simultaneously watch the content while discussing it. Owing to its real-time engine, Twitter runs parallel to a plethora of games. Twitter has been a preferred platform that hosted active, and many a times heated, conversations around games and matches. Recently, the platform introduced replays and curated “moments” following matches. The moments feature has been a hit, as it intelligently assimilates the day’s highlights and presents the tweets, including comments, photos, and videos, into a neat layout. Combine this with actual live events, and that makes Twitter a powerful platform that mimics a sports bar, where conversation flows with the sport. Speaking about the streaming deal, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the following.
“Twitter is where live events unfold and is the right partner for the NFL as we take the latest step in serving fans around the world live NFL football.”
NFL, on the other hand, is acutely aware that increasing number of viewers are steadily turning to the internet for streaming the games. The digital rights for Thursday night games is an earnest attempt to reach the group of viewers who were formally cable-TV subscribers, also known as cord-cutters. This isn’t the first time NFL games have been available for streaming over the internet. However, this is certainly the first time where a season-long streaming deal for NFL has been signed and for Twitter, it is a big foray into live programing.
Twitter Beats Amazon, Verizon for Global NFL Streaming Deal https://t.co/gG0NMHzFRr
— Jenn Day (@nyshoeaddict) April 5, 2016
Twitter has a user base of 800 million and the NFL games will be available for all, even to those who haven’t registered yet. For the social media platform, it appears to be a great opportunity to significantly boost engagement. Twitter has been struggling over the past six months, trying to prove it has a lot more to offer, and live streaming Thursday Night Football even to those outside the U.S. could help the platform acquire new users.
[Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images]