On Tuesday morning, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell revealed that Thursday Night Football games will live stream on Twitter this coming fall, confirming that Twitter had won the bidding for digital streaming rights.
ESPN reports that the NFL offered the rights to several companies, including Facebook, Amazon and Verizon. Verizon is actually coming to the end of a sponsorship deal with the league worth $250 million a year.
— Roger Goodell (@nflcommish) 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,” 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.”
The NFL says that the live streams will be free, but it’s still unclear how viewers will access the streams on Twitter’s interface. What we do know is that the rights package Twitter acquired includes in-game highlights of Thursday night games and Periscope broadcasts from teams before the games.
There’s no question that this is a major win for Twitter. The site thrives on live events, so bringing those events directly to the platform sounds like a no-brainer.
“This is about transforming the fan experience with football. People watch NFL games with Twitter today,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said. “Now they’ll be able to watch right on Twitter Thursday nights.”