Temperatures are cooling, leaves are changing color, and the sweet sounds of “Defense! Defense!” are ringing in the air. Fall has arrived, and it’s brought with it another football season. The National Football League (NFL) has been the slowest of the professional sports to get their product streaming online, but a new deal with Twitter will add one more game to the online streaming stable. The social media company purchased the rights to stream Thursday Night Football in 2016 for $10 million, beating out Facebook and other tech giants.
From the outside, it looks like Twitter got a good deal. The $10 million package allows Twitter to sell a significant portion of the advertisement inventory. Last year, 30 second spots on Thursday Night Football sold for just over $500,000, so it shouldn’t take too much time for Twitter to come out ahead. The only additional expenses the company will face in providing the service will be on the hardware side, where the company already has considerable assets.
In fact, advertising on Twitter may be more valuable to companies. The majority of Twitter users are in the 18-34 demographic, one with broad appeal to most advertisers. Fine-tuning ads to target millennials on the platform could be a very lucrative proposition for companies in all sectors.
The NFL deal is part of a larger move by Twitter to incorporate more live video. The company partnered with the National Hockey League, CBS News, the National Basketball League, Major League Baseball, Wimbledon, and the PAC-12 conference to provide similar services. Twitter is seeking to carve a niche in live media events. This would seem to go hand-in-hand with the platform’s emphasis on immediacy and connection.
Now, the problem facing Twitter is distribution. The technology side, creating a player that will support both the content and the users, is right in the company’s wheelhouse. However, getting the stream to the places people watch football, still mostly televisions, is outside Twitter’s typical area of operation. They’re turning to another tech giant, Apple. New reports suggest that Twitter may be looking to use Apple TV as a medium to distribute their live content.
Of course, there are many ways that content goes from Internet to television, and Apple TV is only one of them. Twitter should have no trouble finding a willing partner for their hottest new line of products. The demand for football is certainly there, and someone will be happy to help Twitter meet it.