Twitter debuted its new partnership with the NFL Thursday night, livestreaming the Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets primetime matchup free to users. After struggling with dwindling user numbers, is Twitter back?
Twitter’s NFL Partnership Looks Like A Win
Twitter’s user numbers have essentially ground to a half since the fourth quarter of 2015. In fact, the microblogging platform has lost users. Twitter currently has 313 million users. Which isn’t bad. Except when you consider there were over 400 million active Twitter users just a couple years ago. Q4 of 2015 showed 320 million users – the same number as Q3 of 2015. To compare, Facebook currently has about 1.7 billion users.
In July, the NBA streamed nine pre-Olympics USA basketball games on Facebook, marking the NBA's first move into livestreaming. Twitter is taking that same concept and amplifying it by streaming live television content from mobile devices. And not just any TV content. The NFL.
The National Football League brought in about $13 billion in revenue in 2015; outperforming MLB by $4 billion and the NBA by $8 billion. About $95 billion will be wagered on NFL and college football games this season, according to the American Gaming Association trade group. More than any other sport.
In a truly brilliant move on Twitter’s part, users can stream 10 NFL Thursday Night Football games this year from any mobile device, Apple TV, and even Xbox One consoles. As the trend in cable cutting rises, more and more people have opted to miss the games rather than pay for cable packages. Now, those same people can watch the game from anywhere.
In an Uber watching #TNF on Twitter. The future is cool so far.
— john shahidi (@john) September 16, 2016
“In an Uber watching #TNF [Thursday Night Football] on Twitter,” tweeted app developer John Shahidi (@john). “The future is cool so far.”
— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) September 16, 2016
Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) tweeted: “Took 5-seconds watching #TNF on [Twitter] to know this is the wave of the future.”
Disney recently acquired BAMTech, a video streaming company formed by Major League Baseball to offer streaming sports content packages to subscribers. And while that strategy may pan out, Twitter’s free live primetime games should bring new users and new advertisers to the platform much more quickly.
Watch this video from CNBC
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