It was announced Tuesday April 5 that the NFL struck a deal with Twitter for a year long contract allowing Twitter to stream live 10 Thursday night football games free to 185 countries. Twitter beat out several other social media platforms in the bid including Facebook and Yahoo. The goal of the NFL in making this deal is to “…reach the growing number of younger fans without televisions.” The NFL has also acknowledges that fans are beginning to forego traditional cable packages and are consuming television primarily online.
The interesting aspect of this deal as it pertains to our MS&E 135 class is the choice of Twitter as the streaming host, as opposed to Amazon, who already has an established streaming service, and Yahoo, who in an exclusive deal last season streamed several NFL games played in London. Twitter is also a social media platform that is primarily on mobile, with 80% of Twitter’s Users are Mobile. It is unclear how the streaming service will work on Twitter, but if we imagine that it will show on everyone’s feed as part of the deal you will have a base ‘N’ number of exposures to the game where ‘N’ is the number of users. Beyond that though Twitter is a directed network, where you follow a number of people/accounts who may not follow you back, you however will see what they post, so it is conceivable that several accounts, whether they are being paid to do so or not, will re-tweet the live stream link.
Twitter’s ability to reach so many people was one of the main reasons that the NFL went with them, and this directed graph structure has the potential to reach millions of potential new NFL fans. For example if it does not automatically pop-up on your feed then you would need someone to tweet it out in order for it to show on your feed, Lady Gaga for example has 58 million followers. This directed relationship means that more people have the potential of being exposed to the NFL, which at the end of the day leads to more revenue. It will certainly be interesting to see how they decide to leverage the network of approximately 305 million monthly users.