Twitter yesterday streamed US NFL football for the first time, making live video coverage of the Thursday Night Football game between the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills available without authentication to the social media platform’s 800 million users worldwide.
Under the terms of the deal between the pair, the NFL will stream a live feed of Thursday Night Football exclusively via Twitter during the course of the 2016 NFL regular season.
Twitter will stream the 10 Thursday Night Football games broadcast by NBC and CBS, which will also be simulcast on NFL Network delivered via cable.
The NFL and Twitter are already partners via the Twitter Amplify programme. Under the latest deal, in addition to live coverage of Thursday Night Football, Twitter will stream in-game highlights from TNF as well as pre-game Periscope broadcasts from players and teams.
The deal with Twitter follows last year’s deal between the NFL and Yahoo! That saw the internet firm deliver a free, globally available live stream of a regulator season NFL game, markting the first time that internet users could access NFL premium content worldwide without authentication.
“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. 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,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“This is about transforming the fan experience with football. People watch NFL games with Twitter today. Now they’ll be able to watch right on Twitter Thursday nights,” said Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO.
Twitter also agreed a deal with Time to provide its live stream to Time.com as part of a syndication partnership between the pair.
Twitter has tapped digital video delivery provider BAMTech, a spin-off from MLB Advanced Media, to provide the technology platform for its delivery of NFL games.
“Twitter’s recent deal with BAMTech to provide users with quality live streaming of Thursday Night Football really paid off and has been met with largely rave reviews by users. By leaving all streaming issues to BAMTech, Twitter has been able to focus its resources on its core product and as last night showed, it has already created a seamless, one-stop-shop for sports fans,” said Dror Ginzberg, co-founder and CEO of digital video specialist Wochit, commenting on the agreement.
“What last night really exhibited was how well American football is complimented by social media. With a typical game clocking in at roughly three hours from start to finish, Twitter is a natural fit – allowing fans to stray on and off the platform without missing any of the action. Another interesting development we’ve seen is how Twitter is seeking syndication deals with other publishers for the NFL content – it announced only hours before the game yesterday it had signed its own deal with Time. Clearly they are seeking to push this premium content as far and wide as possible.”