05 April 2016

Twitter to stream Thursday Night Football games this fall

As we reported on back in February as the league announced the new Thursday Night Football package with CBS and NBC, they had yet to announce the streaming rights for those games but they have now. With Bloomberg breaking the story and the NFL confirming it, Twitter will be streaming the ten broadcast network TNF games this fall.

Twitter will be paying the league a cool $10 million to stream these ten games (excluding the NFL Network-exclusive games) which feels like a total bargain given that Yahoo paid $17 million to stream Jaguars-Bills in London last season. Other bidders were reportedly in the $15 million range so the league left some money on the table. The NFL essentially admitted as such according to Brian Rolapp, who is the executive vice president of media:
We did not take the highest bidder on the table. The platform is built around live events already. We want to see how they use the unique platform, and syndicated tweets all over the Internet is going to be interesting.
And what he says makes sense. Even as Twitter is currently having some issues growing from what they currently are, they do have a wide audience that is largely predicated on tweeting about things as they are happening (and why it is so important in my current arena of employment). Given that you'll have fans already tweeting about the game, having Twitter broadcasting the game alongside it makes that pretty seamless.

What I also find interesting is that these streaming rights are not exclusive as CBS and NBC will also have streaming rights to their slate of games. That helps to explain why the price was a little lower than some might have thought. And also, Verizon still owns the mobile rights which makes all this overlay perhaps a little confusing to the common viewer.

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