Thursday Night Football, which features tired NFL teams playing in ugly jerseys, tried out an experiment last season and streamed 10 of its games on Twitter. I tried watching once and promptly saw Twitter’s wonderful “social” integration alert me that someone had scored a touchdown before I saw anything had happened on the field. Twitter paid a cool $10 million for the rights, but relinquished them this year despite trying to renew.
As Recode’s Peter Kafka reported this evening, the NFL has awarded the streaming rights to those same 10 games to that one e-commerce site you buy cat litter from. Jeff Bezos’s big website paid $50 million for a one-year deal to broadcast the games, beating out Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
You will need to be a “premium” subscriber to the website’s many services to watch the games, the broadcast of which marks their most serious foray into live streaming. The phone charging-cable clearinghouse understands that they’re limiting their potential audience by restricting the games to paid subscribers, but their internal calculations somehow show that those users visit their site very often. As Kafka notes, not many people watched the games on Twitter:
It’s unclear what benefit streaming the games actually provides for a digital platform. Last year both Twitter and the NFL said they were pleased with the results of the experiment, but the games didn’t generate a huge audience: They averaged less than 300,000 viewers per minute, while CBS and NBC averaged 15.8 million viewers.
Congratulations to the NFL and the Seattle company.