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The NFL and Twitter recently hit the midway point in its 10-game streaming package deal, with the next matchup slated for Nov. 17 between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers.
After five games, an NFL spokesperson told Sports Video Group that the league was overall “pleased” with the early results of the live streaming partnership around Thursday Night Football.
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“The most obvious reaction is how great the video looks on their platform, which was a key consideration,” the spokesperson said. “The numbers we are seeing on the Twitter platform for Thursday Night Football are in line with our expectations and show that we are really adding incremental audience to what the television broadcast brings to the table.”
Twitter chief financial officer Anthony Noto, who once held the same position at the NFL, said on the social media company’s Q3 earnings call last week that it was also “very pleased” with the performance, stating that 70 percent of the live streaming audience was under the age of 35. Twitter had originally forecasted one to three million viewers for the games, and the numbers so far have slightly exceeded those projections.
The NFL further explained that one of the reasons it selected Twitter for the live streaming partnership was its complementary nature to television and its existing audience.
“Twitter has shown the ability in many, many instances to drive audience to the television broadcast, and that’s what we were hoping they would do with this and what we feel they have done,” added the NFL spokesperson. “The audience on Twitter is typically younger than what we see with our television broadcasts and predominately is accessing the stream via mobile devices.”
With millennials and Gen Z audiences increasingly accessing content on mobile and tablet devices, the NFL views the Twitter streaming deal as a way to “grow the popularity of our game” and grab those future football fans for years to come.
“Like the rest of the entertainment industry,” the NFL spokesperson explained to Sports Video Group, “we want to be in front of the next generation.
“In order to continue to grow the popularity of our game, we need to expose the next generation to NFL football, and that is why you are seeing us strategically pursue opportunities like this partnership with Twitter or our partnership with Snapchat.”
After the NFL and Snapchat renewed their partnership earlier this year, the league became the first professional sports league to have its own “Discover” platform. The multi-year deal now includes Live Stories created at every game this season, including the Super Bowl.