Twitter has won a deal to stream the National Football League’s Thursday night games online, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed in a tweet on Tuesday.
Bloomberg, which first reported the news, said Twitter was up against Verizon, Amazon, and Yahoo for the rights. According to reports, Facebook dropped out of the bidding last week.
The deal calls for Twitter to stream 10 Thursday games for free. They will also be broadcast by either CBS or NBC, and shown on cable by NFL Network.
“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,” Goodell said in a statement released by the league. “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.”
Goodell posted a video of 2015 season highlights in his tweet confirming that Twitter would live-stream Thursday night games.
The deal is a boost for Twitter as it seeks to grow its user base and make its service a go-to place for live events, Bloomberg reported.
“This is about transforming the fan experience with football. People watch NFL games with Twitter today. Now they’ll be able to watch right on Twitter Thursday nights,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said.
The NFL said the deal also makes game highlights available on Twitter and includes pregame Periscope broadcasts featuring players and teams. According to its website, Twitter has 320 million monthly active users. It is based in San Francisco.
The 2016 NFL schedule has not been released — it is usually revealed in mid- to late April — although the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos will host a season-opening Thursday night game in September.
Last season, Yahoo streamed a game between the Bills and Jaguars that was played in London as the NFL tested the waters of live online game broadcasts. The NFL said fans in 185 countries streamed more than 480 million minutes of that game.