Social media site Twitter beat out U.S. wireless giant Verizon and others to take home Over-the-Top digital streaming rights for Thursday Night Football, the National Football League announced Tuesday.
Under the terms of the deal, Twitter will provide free, live streaming of Thursday Night Football to its more than 800 million users across tablets, PCs connected TVs and mobile devices. The partnership will also include pre-game Periscope broadcasts from NFL players and teams and delivery of in-game highlights from Thursday night games.
“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,” NFL Commissioner Roger 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.”
In securing the deal, Twitter beat out competitors that included Verizon, Yahoo, Amazon and, at one point, Facebook. The latter company took itself out of contention earlier this week after it was reportedly put off by the NFL’s advertising stipulations and early morning London games.
Though it lost out on the Thursday Night Football deal, Verizon still offers all its customers live streaming of local Sunday afternoon NFL games, and all Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, and Monday Night Football games through the NFL Mobile app.
Twitter Chief Operating Officer Adam Bain on Tuesday heralded Twitter’s win as the next step in the company’s effort to “build (the) world’s best daily connected audience.” Bain said the deal will also be a boon for Twitter’s advertisers, as the platform has secured control of some of the ad inventory for the games.
The agreement comes on the heels of Twitter’s 10th anniversary, and amid the company’s ongoing battle to retain users and boost profits.
As of the end of 2015, Twitter had about 320 million active users. For comparison, social media giant Facebook had about 1.5 billion users.
Despite the return of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey last summer and the following layoff of nearly 8 percent of its workforce, Twitter still struggled. The company posted a loss of $90 million during the final three months of 2015.