By Prof John Wolohan, Syracuse University, New York, USA
As the number of homes in the United States subscribing to ESPN and other cable sports’ networks has dropped by over 10 million viewers, sports leagues, like the National Football League (NFL), are beginning to worry that networks are going to be less willing to pay the billions of dollars they currently do to broadcast sports’ programing.
However, instead of waiting around until 2022, when the NFL’s media rights deals with traditional television networks expire, the League is being proactive in meeting the changing consumer viewing habits and developing additional revenue sources.
An example of this is the new multi-year deal entered into between the NFL and Twitter on 10 May, 2017, which will allow Twitter to deliver uniquely-packaged official NFL video and other content to fans around the world on a daily basis.
As part of the contract, the NFL will produce a 30-minute live show that will air on Twitter five days per week during the NFL season.
The program, which will be produced by the NFL Television network, will use the NFL Networks’ studio hosts and game analysts and will include breaking news, game highlights, fantasy projections and other information concerning the games of that week. In addition to this 30-minute show, the contract also allows Twitter to give fans a unique live pre-game access to the players and their favorite teams, including player warm-ups and sideline interviews.
The deal is just the latest contract that the NFL and Twitter have entered into. Back in April 2016, Twitter outbid Facebook, Amazon and Verizon to win the right to stream NFL Thursday night games.
To those who follow sports, Twitter has transformed the fan experience by allowing them to comment with other fans on plays and player performances during live games. As a result, Twitter’s continued investment in the NFL should not come as a big surprise, especially since sport makes up approximately 50 percent of all conversations on Twitter.
Prof Wolohan may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’