The National Football League (NFL) has selected Twitter as its exclusive partner to deliver a live digital stream of Thursday Night Football to a global audience across devices and for free during the course of the 2016 NFL Regular Season. Twitter will stream the 10 Thursday Night Football games broadcast by NBC and CBS, which will also be simulcast on NFL Network, securing the league’s “Tri-Cast” distribution model of broadcast (NBC/CBS), cable (NFL Network), and digital (Twitter).
Reports say Twitter is paying $1 million per game to the NFL for streaming rights.
The NFL and Twitter will provide free, live streaming video of Thursday Night Football without authentication to the over 800 Million registered and non-registered users worldwide on the Twitter platform on mobile phones, tablets, PCs and connected TVs.
In addition to live streaming video of NFL action, the partnership includes in-game highlights from TNF as well as pre-game Periscope broadcasts from players and teams, giving fans an immersive experience before, during and after games.
It’s not clear if Twitter can draw a large audience to these games since these games are also broadcast on NBC and CBS TV networks. The deal is not for the entire NFL season but only 10 games.
“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”, said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “There is a massive amount of NFL-related conversation happening on Twitter during our games and tapping into that audience, in addition to our viewers on broadcast and cable, will ensure Thursday Night Football is seen on an unprecedented number of platforms this season. This agreement also provides additional reach for those brands advertising with our broadcast partners.”
“This is about transforming the fan experience with football. People watch NFL games with Twitter today,” said Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO. “Now they’ll be able to watch right on Twitter Thursday nights.”
Last season, the NFL broke new digital ground in a partnership with Yahoo to deliver a free, global live stream of a regular season NFL game, the first time users could access the NFL’s premium content worldwide, without authentication.
When the Buffalo Bills faced off against the Jacksonville Jaguars from London’s Wembley Stadium on October 25, 2015, football fans streamed over 480 million minutes of the game, with 33% of streams coming in internationally, across 185 countries worldwide.