After Twitter won the rights last season to livestream Thursday night NFL games, another bidding war has reportedly erupted with Amazon, Facebook and YouTube all also vying for the prize.
According to Recode, which cited several unnamed sources, all four companies are going after the right to stream 10 NFL games. Last season, Twitter paid $10 million and was reportedly able to sell out all the ad inventory made available during the streams.
While it’s unclear how much the winning bidder will have to pay this year, it’s likely to be far less than the $450 million CBS Corp. and NBCUniversal are collectively paying to broadcast the same 10 games.
Twitter would seem like the frontrunner to land the rights again for this season. Last year, the NFL praised Twitter for its already-in-place community discussing the games as they happen.
“Twitter is where live events unfold and is the right partner for the NFL as we take the latest step in serving fans around the world live NFL football,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement issued last year when the Twitter deal was announced. “There is a massive amount of NFL-related conversation happening on Twitter during our games and tapping into that audience, in addition to our viewers on broadcast and cable, will ensure Thursday Night Football is seen on an unprecedented number of platforms this season. This agreement also provides additional reach for those brands advertising with our broadcast partners.”
But Facebook could emerge as a better choice for the NFL this season. Its international audience is larger than Twitter’s, which could help drive up viewership numbers for the livestreams. As the report points out, the average amount of people watching the stream during any given point in the game was around a couple hundred thousand.
Facebook is in the midst of a big push to secure content rights for its platform, and the NFL’s Thursday Night Football games could be a crown jewel.
But Amazon is also going after sports rights and could challenge Facebook. However, the NFL is reportedly concerned about Amazon’s ability to sell off the inventory for the game streams.
YouTube could also have a strong chance of landing the rights. The online video giant recently unveiled its YouTube TV live linear streaming product and the package is heavy on sports, including ESPN and several broadcasters’ regional sports networks.