Twitter’s season premier live stream of Thursday Night Football between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills drew a global audience of 2.3 million viewers.
The fixture marked the micro-blogging site's long awaited foray into NFL live streaming which was agreed in a $10m deal in April. The game was available to stream across all of Twitter's platforms including its mobile app, website, Apple, TV, Amazon Fire TV and Microsoft’s Xbox One.
In total, Twitter generated an audience of 2.3 million people for its pre-game coverage and broadcast of the fixture, while the game itself was watched by 2.1 million people. The average audience was 243,000 with each viewer watching for an average of 22 minutes.
In comparison, the average television viewership for the Jets-Bills game across CBS and the NFL Network was 15.4 million viewers. A total of 48.1 million people watched at least one minute of the game on television, and 2.4 million watched it on a digital platform, such as Twitter, NFL mobile from Verizon and digital CBS platforms.
The live stream also broke new ground by being the first time Twitter has sold ads for live sports video. The ad packages for its 10 game deal with the NFL reportedly range from £1m to $8m and have already attracted Sony, Nestlé SA and Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Twitter’s chief executive Jack Dorsey has repeatedly championed Twitter’s live capability as its core strength, claiming “we believe we can become the first screen for everything that’s happening now”.
The viewership numbers of the NFL live streams aim to illustrate Twitter's value as a live events platform to advertisers at a time of heated competition from the likes of Facebook and Snapchat.