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Twitter Wins Bidding War for US Pro Football Coverage

  • VOA News

FILE - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell talks during a press conference.

FILE - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell talks during a press conference.

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Tuesday morning – on Twitter – that the social media platform outbid several other companies for the rights to stream Thursday Night NFL games.

"This fall Thursday Night Football will be streamed live ...so fans will see more of this," Goodell said in a Tweet.

Twitter was in a hotly contested bidding war with other media giants like Facebook, Amazon and Verizon, which is in the final year of a sponsorship deal with the NFL that pays the league about $250 million per year. But Twitter proved the victor in the battle for NFL streaming rights, the terms of which were not disclosed.

"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.”

Pivotal moment

The deal comes at a pivotal moment for Twitter, which has seen its user base plateau at around 320 million users and advertising revenue that falls well short of competitors like Facebook and Instagram.

Investors have been putting pressure on Twitter to raise revenue after the company’s stock dropped in value by more than 66 percent over the past year. After news of the deal broke early Tuesday morning, Twitter shares rose by more than 3.5 percent.

With the move, the NFL joins a growing trend in entertainment of moving away from traditional cable and broadcast television in favor of Internet platforms.

With more people turning to Internet and mobile-based media for their video content, the NFL is hoping to capitalize on the potential to reach new advertisers and viewers.

"This is about transforming the fan experience with football. People watch NFL games with Twitter today," Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in a statement. "Now they'll be able to watch right on Twitter Thursday nights."

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