With N.F.L. Deal, Twitter Live-Streams Its Ambitions

Twitter, in contrast, agreed to pay the N.F.L. around $10 million to stream 10 games and to sell only a portion of the ad inventory exclusively. Twitter, which is based in San Francisco, wanted the Thursday night games because of their popularity; each game drew an average of 13 million viewers last season.

“Having that live programming every night when sports are playing — with no paywall, no logging in and directly from the source — that’s key to us,” said Anthony Noto, the chief financial officer for Twitter and formerly for the N.F.L., who helped forge the streaming deal.


The NFL, CBS and Twitter still are trying to develop a combined rating for this season’s “Thursday Night Football” telecasts, and it sounds like any metric will be similar to the Total Audience Delivery rating that NBC used during the Rio Olympics that combined primetime broadcast, cable and digital streams into one number. “There will be a number that will be released that will show the reach and the average minute viewed on Twitter,” said CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus. “We’re still working on what those metrics are going to be because they use a different formula than we do.”

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