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When Will We Know if Twitter Inc.'s NFL Deal Was Smart?

By Motley Fool Staff - Apr 21, 2016 at 7:00AM

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The social media giant recently bought the rights to live-stream Thursday Night Football, free to everyone, worldwide. But was it money well-spent?

In an agreement valued at around $15 million, Twitter (TWTR -3.84%) recently gained the rights to live-stream the NFL's Thursday Night Football games along with broadcasters CBS and NBC and cable's NFL Network this fall. 

In this segment from the Motley Fool Money podcast, Chris Hill and Jason Moser talk about what Twitter is hoping to get out of this deal, who will have access to the games, and how other sports outlets have responded to social media in the last few years.

A transcript follows the video.

This podcast was recorded on April 8, 2016. 

Chris Hill: This fall, network television is not the only place you can go to watch pro football on Thursday nights. Twitter has paid the NFL around $15 million for the right to stream games as well as the broadcast networks. I know this is good for the NFL, Jason, because they just got $15 million that they didn't have before. How will we know if this is a good move for Twitter, if this is money well-spent?

Jason Moser: I think it's going to take the football season unfolding for us to ascertain that. I think this is a very simple, relatively inexpensive bet on Twitter's part. But it's a very important one, I think, because it is a way to exploit another potential use for the platform as we watch this new age of media unfold in that properties like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, all of these new digital and mobile channels, we're finding ways to get and consume content.

This is going to be another way to see how that maybe works out. It's worth noting that this is a global initiative, so Twitter users everywhere around the world will be able to watch these games for free -- it is for the logged in and logged out audience. And while we know Wall Street tends to focus on that logged-in audience, the monthly active users, it's worth noting that total audience reached, as well, because they are talking about ways that they monetize that audience. There is value there. I think this is another way to show that.

I think it's encouraging that they have 10 games in total. That means they'll be able to learn and iterate as the season goes on, and really see if they can't capitalize on this relationship. I suspect if they do, then we'll see more relationships like this shake out in the coming years. I was just reading something yesterday about Periscope and Major League Baseball.

A year ago, Major League Baseball felt very threatened by Periscope, and I think we even saw a story where the New York Yankees owner was saying, "Any Periscopes going on in our stands and we'll confiscate your phones." And a year later, Major League Baseball is embracing Periscope, and it's becoming a very integral part of the experience this baseball season. So, it's just interesting to see this media age shaping up here. And I think that the businesses like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat; they're all going to be a part of it.

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