Super Bowl

Inside Twitter’s NFL play

Kirstine Stewart breaks down why the sports partnership made sense in light of the social platform's Periscoping ways.
June 7, 2016

At this year’s Stream Market keynote conversation, Kirstine Stewart, Twitter’s VP media, North America, pulled back the curtain a bit for a peak at its upcoming partnership with the NFL.

The deal signed in April will see the platform broadcast 10 NFL games every Thursday night during the upcoming season, tapping into the ever-growing demand for live-content.

“We’re not really revealing what the experience is going to be like until we’re closer to the time,” Stewart told delegates in Santa Monica. “But this is a nod to the fact that we learned through (Twitter-owned) Periscope that people love to experience live video. The live nature of what Twitter has always been is a natural fit. Because, let’s face it, when people are experiencing the NBA playoffs, when people are experiencing the Super Bowl, they do it through Twitter because it’s that second-screen nature.

“It really is something that suited the live nature of what the platform is, to be there in the moment to be sharing something,” she added. “I think Periscope has really carved out a place for itself for people who want that really raw, close to the action experience.”

While the Yahoo NFL experience might be a cautionary tale for the social platform, Stewart brushed off the ultimately failed attempt by the digital player, saying Twitter is a different animal, though she acknowledged that the live-streaming space was getting busier and more crowded.

In fact, more companies than ever are competing for a slice of the NFL action in particular. Earlier this year, Verizon’s go90 platform live-streamed the Super Bowl, while in May YouTube announced it would make a number of full-length games available to viewers. 

“Human beings have a natural capacity to expand what the offering is,” she said. “What’s going to be our challenge is probably going to be keeping up.”

No details were released around what Twitter paid for the deal, though Stewart did mention the NFL partnership was a revenue selling deal.

With files from Bree Rody-Mantha


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