Tech company beats rivals including Amazon and Facebook to broadcast 10 whole games worldwide
Ten games from the NFLs regular season is likely to be broadcast on Twitter, as well as in-game highlightings and live pre-game interviews on its streaming platform, Periscope.
The games will be available to people Twitter counts as users even if they are not registered, meaning a potential audience of 800 million.
They will also be shown on Tv in the US by NBC and CBS, with the remaining six Thursday evening games on the NFLs own cable channel. Verizon will also retain the US mobile rights to stream all 16 games following a handled in 2010..
The move has amazed the tech industry, with Amazon tipped as the more likely buyer given its previous willingness to pay large sums for Tv rights, such as the reported 160 m it paid to secure the services of former Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond. Facebook, which also seems a more likely buyer given its recent focus on live video, reportedly fell out of the bidding last week.
Last year, Yahoo paid $20 m to reveal the first NFL game of the season live online. However, US tech site Recode has reported that the new deal is worth under $10 m( 7.1 m ), with Twitter winning despite larger contenders bidding as much as $15 m.
A tweet from Twitters investor relations account telling the deal would not affect financial guidance for 2016 provided earlier this year also suggest the deal is far smaller than the combined $450 m NBC and CBS paid to each broadcast five games.
Matt Littunen of Enders Analysis said Twitters comparatively smaller size, with about 320 million active users worldwide, may have attained it a more appealing partner for the NFL than larger digital companies vying for the rights.
Theres strong evidence that Tv content proprietors have been reticent to partner with bigger online platform, he said. In this Twitters size may actually be an advantage. The bidding price are most likely be indicative of preference for medium sized partners.
Twitters reach outside the US will also have been a describe. The NFL has been pushing into marketplaces outside the US in recent years, staging two games a year at Londons Wembley stadium with the aim of starting a franchise in the UK.
Littunen said the deal could help Twitter kickstart stagnating user growth, which has hit the companys share price.
He said: Its too early to tell whether its a game-changer, but it is addressing a fundamental problem of addressing shrinking reach in the core markets.
While Twitter has struggled to match the growth of contenders such as Facebook, it is still seen as the place many turn to during live events and transgressing news, a fact referenced by both Twitter and the NFL.
This is about transforming the fan experience with football. People watch NFL games with Twitter today, said the Twitter chief executive, Jack Dorsey, in a statement announcing the deal. Now theyll be able to watch right on Twitter Thursday nights.
The NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, added: Twitter is where live events unfold and is the right partner for the NFL as we take the most recent step in serving fans around the world live NFL football. There is a massive sum 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 evening football is ensure on an unprecedented number of platforms this season.
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