In a push for online programming, social media company Twitter won a deal to stream Thursday night NFL games online. Twitter will air 10 games for free, while NBC, CBS or the NFL Network simultaneously broadcast them, the NFL announced Tuesday.
Twitter, which in its tenth year has struggled to gain new users, won the deal over Yahoo, Amazon and Verizon, according to Bloomberg. Facebook dropped out of the contest last week.
The NFL and Twitter hope the mutually beneficial deal will allow each organization to attain a larger audience.
The NFL hopes to reach the growing cohort of “cord cutters” who have opted out of paying for cable and exclusively stream their entertainment. The league is experimenting with Thursday night games because they generally draw fewer viewers than Sunday or Monday night games.
Twitter meanwhile hopes to promote itself as the ideal forum to discuss live events. At a time when many viewers catch their favorite shows on DVR or streaming services like Hulu and Netflix days after they air, sports remain best viewed live. Twitter hopes to capitalize on the potential for live engagement likely by using their Moments feature, launched six months ago, which allows viewers to watch live events while tweets from celebrities and influencers stream alongside.
The deal “continues our strategy to build world’s best daily connected audience that watches together and can talk with one another in real-time,” Twitter Chief Operating Officer Adam Bain said on Twitter.
The NFL did not announce the terms of the deal. Broadcast networks CBS and NBC are currently paying about $45 million per game for the right to air Thursday night NFL contests. Yahoo paid the NFL $17 million to live stream a game in London last year.
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