In a groundbreaking deal for both sides, it was announced April 5 that Twitter has secured a deal with the National Football League to stream ten of their Thursday Night Football games online. The games will continue to air on television on CBS, NBC, and the NFL Network, but will now also be available on Twitter for free.
The NFL has been exploring offering online streams of its games for some time, offering a free stream of two of its games on Yahoo last year. However, this is the first major online streaming deal the league has worked out. As such, this contract was highly sought after. Twitter outbid tech giants such as the aforementioned Yahoo as well as Amazon and Verizon Communications. Fellow social media giant Facebook was also involved in the early stages of the bidding, but removed itself from consideration last week.
This deal is a big ‘get’ for Twitter. For years, it has attempted to establish itself as the premier location for people to share their live event reactions and view reactions of others. In addition to that space, Twitter has now solidified itself as a main place to go to view Thursday Night Football, a highly popular commodity. Some hypothesize that Twitter will seek to use its existing platform to integrate live reaction into its streams of the game.
Twitter’s Chief Operating Officer Adam Bain remarked that the deal “continues our strategy to build the world’s best daily connected audience that watches together and can talk with one another in real-time.” As Twitter continues to look for ways to successfully monetize their platform, securing such a popular commodity could provide a big boost.
The markets have already begun to react positively to this deal. After Twitter stock dropped by over a quarter throughout the first three months of 2016, this deal created a two percent rebound within less than an hour of being announced. It will be exciting to see what Twitter does to leverage this new, extremely valuable asset that they have acquired.