Twitter won’t stream the NFL’s Thursday Night Football games again this year.
Instead, Amazon has won the rights to stream 10 of the NFL’s games, both companies announced on Tuesday. Amazon paid a whopping $US50 million for the deal, according to The Wall Street Journal.
That number is a fivefold increase from the $US10 million Twitter reportedly paid the NFL for the same rights in 2016. The deal was a landmark one for both sides at the time, and it signalled Twitter’s growing ambitions to become a destination for premium live video.
Twitter had boasted of the NFL deal as a key plank in its plan to reignite its sluggish user growth and to transform itself as the place to go to follow live events. But some advertisers reportedly found the audience for football games on Twitter to be underwhelming. Still, losing the rights to stream the games is an embarrassing loss for Twitter, as its COO/CFO Anthony Noto is the NFL’s former CFO.
“Since last year, we have collaborated on over 40 live stream partnerships and we will continue to bring the best live content to our customers around the world,” a Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider on Tuesday.
“In Q1 2017, we aired more than 800 hours of live stream content from over 400 events across sports, news, politics and entertainment. The NFL was a great partner to launch our strategy and we will continue to work with them to bring great content to our passionate sports fans.”
Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, and YouTube had all bid to win the rights to this year’s football season, according to Recode. While Twitter streamed Thursday Night Football for free to everyone, Amazon will restrict its streams to its paying Prime subscribers. NBC, CBS, and Verizon will also stream the games live to their subscribers.
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