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Twitter looks to partner with the NFL 'in a bigger way' as it ups its live sports focus


By Tony Connelly, Sports Marketing Reporter

February 10, 2017 | 3 min read

Twitter is looking to build on the success of its NFL live streaming deal after revealing that it will look to partner with the league in a “bigger way” going forward.


The NFL and Twitter have yet to agree on a new deal

The comments were made by the social media platform’s chief operating office, Anthony Nato, during a recent post-earnings call with analysts.

Nato said that the $10m deal with the NFL to live stream 10 Thursday night games “exceeded our expectations on both revenue and profitability for both us and our partners”.

He added: “We will look to partner with [the NFL] in a bigger way.”

In its letter to shareholders following its Q4 earnings report Twitter described the NFL live streams as “the major highlight of the fourth quarter”.

Following the conclusion of the first season of the partnership Twitter’s global head of sports partnerships, Laura Froelich, said that the live streaming deal with the NFL went “incredibly well”.

Reflecting on the partnership, Froelich, commented: “Our hypothesis was that we had the ability to instantly explain the value and power of Twitter by having both the game, and the conversation around the game, all in one place.”

An average audience of 3.5 million unique viewers per game watched the inaugural series of live streams on Twitter with 55% of those being under the age of 25 and 25% of viewers residing outside the US.

There has been no new deal agreed between Twitter and the NFL for next season and an NFL spokesperson told GeekWire last month that the league was still evaluating its options.

Twitter desire to continue the partnership is unsurprising given its push into live sport streaming. This strategy saw it agree a deal with the NBA to live-stream two new weekly pre-game shows as well as forming partnerships with the MLB, Australian Open and PGA Tour.

Overall it streamed 600 hours of live programming during Q4, with 50% of that being sports-related. However, despite the positive talk in relation to the NFL deal Twitter’s overall fourth quarter earnings showed underwhelming revenue and sluggish user growth numbers.

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