After news broke in Februarythat CBS and NBC would share broadcast rights to a package of 10 NFL Thursday-night games, the league said it was also looking for an online streaming partner.
Last week, the least likely hopeful—Twitter—prevailed over Amazon, Google and Yahoo. The social network, not known for long-form video, is paying a reported $10 million for rights to 10 games.
The deal is more experiment than game-changer. Twitter will get to showcase its Periscope live-streaming app and try to lure new users to shore up its eroding U.S. base of about 66 million. For the NFL, it’s an expansion of the digital strategy that put a regular-season game on Yahoo last season and the playoffs on TV Everywhere apps.
One caveat that prompted a downbeat reception on Wall Street is that Twitter won’t get much of the ad revenue that has made the game the most lucrative piece of weekday primetime real estate outside of The Walking Dead and Empire. National spots will be sold by CBS and NBC, while Twitter gets only two to three minutes per hour for local affiliate spots. Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak projects total ad revenue for Twitter of just $6 million.
Looks like ABC and Shonda Rhimes may not need to rethink their TGIT hashtag just yet.