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Volume 23 No. 29
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Twitter asks $8M for top NFL package

Twitter is asking advertisers to pay up to $8 million for advertising packages around its Thursday night NFL games this season, according to several sources.

The social media company will stream “Thursday Night Football” for the first time this fall through a 10-game, $10 million deal it signed with the NFL in April. Twitter will stream CBS and NBC simulcasts of the games and is able to sell the local advertising spots in each of those games. Those spots amount to a little more than four minutes a game.

Twitter’s sales plan has it supplementing those in-game spots with sponsorships on its Amplify video advertising program and positions in its pre- and postgame shows around the Thursday night games.

While the advertising industry expects Twitter’s ad prices to drop significantly, many say they are more interested in Twitter’s Thursday night offering than Yahoo’s single Sunday morning stream from last year. That was when Yahoo originally tried to get $200,000 per 30-second spot for its Sunday morning game between the Bills and Jaguars in London last October. While the game ended up with 30 advertisers, pricing dropped to about $50,000 per 30-second spot, and positions were available the week of the game at prices even lower than that, sources said.

Twitter already has signed deals with Anheuser-Busch and Verizon for this fall’s games, sources said. While it’s not known how much either company is paying, it is believed to be much lower than Twitter’s initial asking price.

Ad buyers say they are more intrigued by the Twitter offering because it goes beyond a traditional media buy. Advertisers consistently said they are interested in the social media company’s ability to provide detailed information on its audience.

“We are not viewing this as a media play,” said one ad buyer who asked not to be identified because he was trying to negotiate a contract. “The real value for us is in trying to figure out more about their audience, and Twitter has a good understanding about what this universe is saying about our brands.”

Potential advertisers say that Twitter has come to the market with three packages, branded “platinum,” “gold” and “silver.” Ad buyers said they expect prices to drop significantly, but they said that Twitter’s packages look like this:

Its initial asking price for the platinum package is $8 million and includes two 30-second spots a game, positions in pregame and postgame shows, and sponsorships for Amplify, which will feature in-game highlights from the preseason through the Super Bowl. Twitter has promised potential advertisers that a platinum package will have category exclusivity outside of the live games and will be limited to four advertisers.

Other features of the package include promoted video through Periscope and customized content. This is the package for which Anheuser-Busch and Verizon have signed deals.

The company is asking for $5 million for its gold package, which includes one 30-second spot a game. Twitter told advertisers that it wants to limit the gold package to six partners. The gold package will have the same sponsorship and promoted video as the platinum, but Twitter will not guarantee category exclusivity.

The silver package, which essentially is limited to Twitter Amplify, has an asking price of $2 million.

“Most important to us is the information we can garner from Twitter on the activity of the fans that are interacting with the games in real time,” said another ad sales executive. “That’s the biggest opportunity in the Twitter package.”