Social media site Twitter has won the exclusive rights to live stream 10 NFL Thursday night games.
The deal announced Tuesday morning gives Twitter live video content that the San Francisco-based company hopes will draw new users. The NFL gets an outlet that enables it to put its content in front of young viewers that are bypassing cable or satellite TV subscriptions.
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 Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. 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.
In the deal, Twitter will stream the 10 Thursday games that are broadcast on CBS and NBC. The games are also televised by the NFL Network on cable. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but people familiar with the talks said Twitter paid around $10 million for the entire package.
Internet users will be able to watch the games for free on Twitter, which will show most of the commercials that air on the broadcasts. The company will have some advertising inventory of its own to sell.
The NFL experimented with streaming video last season when Yahoo showed a Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars contest from Wembley Stadium in London. The league said 480 million minutes of the game was streamed by users across 185 countries.
TV sports consultant Lee Berke said he believes its a mutually beneficial deal for the NFL and Twitter, which has seen its stock price plummet over the last year as investors have been unhappy over a decline in users.
Twitter offers up to the NFL worldwide digital distribution, tens of millions of millennials and social media buzz, he said. The NFL offers up a track record of driving the growth of every media technology over the past 50 years, from broadcast TV to satellite to broadband.