The National Football League has long been in talks to offer some of their games through a live stream service, free for all users. We’re not talking about the all-important Giants v. Cowboys games on Sunday nights of course; football fans will be unsurprised to know that the streams would cover Thursday Night Football games, which often feature meh-quee matchups at best, but would be an unprecedented move for broadcast nonetheless.
And now from a heated bidding war, a victor has emerged in the effort: Twitter, which the league announced will officially partner with the NFL in a new capacity for the 2016 season. Companies like Verizon, Amazon, and Yahoo were all in consideration as well.
The league announced Thursday, “The NFL and Twitter will provide free, live streaming video of Thursday Night Football without authentication to the over 800 million registered and non-registered users worldwide on the Twitter platform on mobile phones, tablets, PCs, and connected TVs.”
The social media company’s partnership with Periscope for live broadcasts is also an attractive feature for the league; existing networks like FOX and CBS often feature pre-game live streams of sorts from the team bus and locker room, so undoubtedly the NFL will look to push a higher level of user engagement with players through the new arrangement. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that there has already been, “a massive amount of NFL-related conversation happening on Twitter during our games,” further prompting the move.