The NFL season will be truly landmark moment for sports fans, thanks to the league’s deal with Twitter to live stream ten games for free worldwide. Following on from the NFL’s own previous test case with Yahoo, who streamed one game last season, which successfully yielded 15.2 million viewers and 33.6 million video streams, the league and Twitter will roll out the first incarnation of interactive sports broadcasting. Exciting times!
The biggest and most obvious question is how the content will be presented to viewers, and Twitter’s recent live streaming of Wimbledon over the summer offers some, potential underwhelming clues, given some of the poor reviews it received. To deal with demand, Twitter will be outsourcing the backend delivery of streams out to BAMTech, meaning it can focus on the actual delivery quality of the experience. Given it is a one year deal, the pressure is truly on Twitter to quickly ensure the experience is as impactful as possible, especially with competitors waiting in the wing.
For UK and Irish fans however, disappointingly this agreement means that none of the London-based games will be streamed live this year with the BBC instead picking up the slack to broadcast all three live on terrestrial TV and Sky Sports also showing the games to its subscribers.
Overall, this agreement is an extended test version for both parties, but it could unlock untold riches for both and also act as a blueprint for other sports to get in on the act in the near future.