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April 5, 2016, 11:21 a.m.
LINK: nflcommunications.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   April 5, 2016

Twitter will be the National Football League’s 2016 streaming partner, the companies announced Thursday. Twitter will stream 10 of the season’s 16 Thursday night games for free, with no authentication required.

Viewers won’t have to log into Twitter to watch, and the 10 games will be available on phones, tablets, PCs, and connected TVs. (The season’s remaining 6 Thursday night games will appear on the cable NFL Network.)

“There is a massive amount of NFL-related conversation happening on Twitter during our games and tapping into that audience, in addition to our viewers on broadcast and cable, will ensure Thursday Night Football is seen on an unprecedented number of platforms this season,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. (And in a tweet, his first since 2014.)

The partnership also includes “in-game highlights from TNF as well as pre-game Periscope broadcasts from players and teams, giving fans an immersive experience before, during and after games.”

Twitter paid “less than $10 million” for the 10 games, Recode reports, citing “people familiar with the bidding,” and beat out bidders like Amazon, Verizon, and Yahoo.

Twitter has struggled in recent months to attract new users, particularly in the United States. The service had 320 million monthly active users in the fourth quarter of 2015, the same as the third quarter of that year, and up just 9 percent over 2014. To increase those user numbers, the company said in its Q4 earnings report that it would focus on live streaming video:

We believe live streaming video is a strong complement to the live nature of Twitter, and it helps instantly explain the value of our service. We’re going to invest heavily in these first-screen, connected audience experiences. Being able to instantly broadcast and watch a live stream with others is extremely powerful and entertaining.

Twitter also has the chance to incorporate NFL footage into its other products — livestreaming tool Periscope, the 6-second-loop video app Vine, and Moments, the mini news digests of tweets it launched last fall. In addition to the pre-game Periscope broadcasts mentioned in the release, for instance, Twitter could promote Moments around each game.

Here’s a tweet from Twitter COO Adam Bain Tuesday:

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