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Twitter Lost Deal for NFL Games, But Gets Live Highlights Show Under Renewed Pact

Variety logo Variety 5/11/2017 Todd Spangler
© Provided by Variety

While Amazon swooped in to beat Twitter for the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” streaming rights next season, Twitter has extended its pact with the league for a new blitz of other gridiron content.

Under the multiyear deal renewal, the National Football League will produce a half-hour live show exclusively on Twitter that will run five days per week during the NFL season. More details will be forthcoming, but the companies said NFL Network talent will host the show that will include highlights, breaking news, analysis and fantasy-football projections.

In addition, the NFL plans to use Periscope and Twitter to deliver live pregame access for each of its primetime game windows and other key matchups during the season. The behind-the-scenes video will range from player warm-ups to sideline interviews.

Twitter first announced the renewal of the deal with the NFL last week at its Digital Content NewFronts event in New York.

The NFL and Twitter have collaborated since 2013 through the Twitter Amplify program for advertisers, which lets marketers sponsor official NFL content created specifically for the social platform.The NFL will continue to program a slate of game highlights, breaking news and analysis, and special features like “Throwback Thursday” (#TBT) for Twitter.

“Twitter continues to be an important partner in accessing millions of highly engaged fans on digital media,” Brian Rolapp, chief media and business officer for the NFL, said in a statement. “We have every expectation that the new daily live show, produced by NFL Network and featuring some of our top analysts, will quickly become some of the most popular programming on Twitter.”

Twitter has aggressively chased deals with premium live video partners, focusing on sports, news and entertainment, as a way to extend user engagement with the service and sell new ad inventory. Last week it unveiled a string of 14 new, renewed or extended collaborations, including with Major League Baseball, Viacom, the WNBA, BuzzFeed News, Bloomberg Media, Live Nation, the PGA, Ben Silverman’s Propagate, and IMG Fashion.

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