The NFL announced that it has chosen Twitter as its exclusive partner to digitally stream Thursday Night Football to a global audience across devices for free throughout the 2016 regular season. This will consist of ten games, which are broadcast by NBC and CBS. The games will also be simulcast on NFL Network.
Games will be streamed without authentication to over 800 million registered and non-registered users via mobile, tablets, PCs, and connected TVs. This includes in-game highlights from Thursday Night Football and pre-game Periscope broadcasts from players and teams.
This is obviously huge news for Twitter, which has struggled with user growth, though the company’s stock is currently plummeting. Twitter Investor Relations had this to say:
In regard to the NFL deal, please note that all expense was contemplated in our FY’16 guidance given on our Q4’15 earnings call.
— TwitterIR (@TwitterIR) April 5, 2016
“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.”
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey added, “This is about transforming the fan experience with football. People watch NFL games with Twitter today. Now they’ll be able to watch right on Twitter Thursday nights.”
— Jack (@jack) April 5, 2016
It will be interesting to see if this leads to similar streaming deals for Twitter with other sports and other types of programs.
Twitter has been a partner of the NFL for several years through the Amplify program. Verizon, Yahoo, Amazon, and Facebook had shown interest in the deal prior to Twitter winning it.
Image via NFL (Twitter)