BIG DEAL

Twitter, in a deal with the NFL, will live-stream Thursday night football next season

Obsession
Business of Sport
Obsession
Business of Sport

Twitter just made a huge push into live programming. This NFL season, you’ll be able to watch and live tweet Thursday night games from the same place.

After a bidding war, Twitter, making a huge push into live programming, has won the rights to stream Thursday night NFL games online, as reported by Bloomberg today (Apr. 5) and confirmed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Twitter.

As part of the deal, the cost of which has not yet been revealed, the 10-year-old social network will live stream 10 Thursday night games throughout the 2016 NFL season. Both registered and non-registered Twitter users will be able to watch the games for free.

CBS and NBC, in turn, share the broadcast rights to the Thursday night games. The networks each agreed to pay the NFL $225 million a year for five games a piece, in a separate deal that closed earlier this year. Verizon also reportedly has a piece of the Thursday Night Football pie:

The NFL has not yet confirmed details about Verizon’s mobile rights.

Twitter was rumored to have bid for the digital NFL rights against media giants like Verizon and Yahoo, which already had ties to the NFL from previous streaming deals, and platforms like Amazon Prime. Rival Facebook dropped out of the running last week.

Twitter did not immediately respond to request for comment on the deal. But the company has been aggressively pursuing TV rights, according to news reports. The New York Post said last month that Twitter was in talks with TV networks to acquire programming, claiming that it can return young viewers to network television.

The social network has been a hub for live events for years, even before this latest push into TV programming. Viewers turn to Twitter to share live commentary around major events like the Super Bowl and prime-time programming like Sunday’s disappointing season finale of The Walking Dead. And the platform encourages users to live tweet with new tools, like Moments, that have made it a larger part of events like the Oscars.

 

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