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Volume 20 No. 46
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Will Twitter keep Thursday night NFL?

The biggest question in sports media over the next two months is who will wind up with the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” digital package.

Twitter’s $10 million deal to live-stream 10 Thursday night games is being shopped around to everyone from traditional media companies to social media companies to digital video companies.

The NFL wants to have a deal in place by the end of March to give the winning bidder a chance to develop advertising packages before the upfront selling season.

“You want to get out in front of the ad market,” said Hans Schroeder, the NFL’s senior vice president of media strategy, business development and revenue. “We’d like a deal done by late spring.”

Both Twitter and NFL executives say they were happy with the streams, which averaged 265,000 (weighted by duration) during the season.

For Twitter, the NFL deal allowed it to drive distribution on connected TVs. For the NFL, the deal helped drive an audience that was younger (70 percent was under the age of 24), more international (close to 25 percent was from outside the U.S.) and mobile.

“Mobile is the most important device in people’s lives,” Schroeder said. “We’re excited about another digital partner next season.”