Ah, Thursday Night Football! Everything you love about Sunday afternoons in the fall, except with tired athletes, lackluster play, and a less convenient air date. If that isn’t enough to sell you, now you can watch all the thrills of an injury-filled Browns-Titans matchup on a much smaller screen.
Yes, the NFL has embraced online streaming, as Deadline reports the league has inked a deal to broadcast 10 Thursday Night Football games on Twitter’s streaming service Periscope. The league dipped its toe into the water last season by letting Yahoo broadcast the obvious ratings bonanza of a Bills-Jaguars game played in London at 6:30 AM PT. So it’s perhaps no surprise that Periscope is getting the NFL schedule’s table scraps.
Still, it’s a big move for a league with a long (and incredibly profitable) relationship with network television. Commissioner Roger Goodell announced, “There is a massive amount of NFL-related conversation happening on Twitter during our games, and tapping into that audience … will ensure Thursday Night Football is seen on an unprecedented number of platforms this season.” Including the existing broadcast on CBS and NBC and Periscope, that brings the number of platforms to an unprecedented two. There’s no precedent, baby!
In another unprecedented move, Twitter may have actually found a way to make money here, as Periscope will be given “some of the games’ ad inventory.” Which most likely means the time allotted for local commercials during a broadcast game will be given over to the video equivalent of promoted tweets, except you won’t be able to forward them with a pithy quote that shows how much you disdain promoted tweets.
As a show of good faith, the NFL is putting its best foot forward: This season’s Thursday Night schedule starts with Steelers-Patriots and Broncos-Chiefs, both solid matchups. But fear not, Thursday Night Football fans, by November you’ll be Periscoping Browns-Bengals, Bills-Jets, and Titans-Jaguars, for those sweet Thursday Night doldrums you’ve come to tolerate.