Punch “Chargers Broncos game time start” into Google, and a familiar white info-box pops up. “Chargers vs. Broncos,” it reads in big black letters. “Tomorrow, 6:25 p.m., CBS, NFLN, TWTR.”
OK, so the game starts at 6:25 p.m. MT Thursday? Cool, got it. It’s airing on CBS and NFL Network? Yep, makes sense.
But TWTR? What’s that?
That would be Twitter, the social-media service. In April, Twitter acquired the live streaming rights to 10 Thursday Night Football games for a reported $10 million. Broncos at Chargers is the fifth TNF game Twitter will stream this year.
The NFL struck the deal in an attempt to make football more popular overseas.
You don’t need cable or satellite to watch Broncos at Chargers. You don’t even need a television. All you need is a smart phone, tablet or computer and a Twitter account. That’s it. It’s free.
That’s good news for someone, say, in England, Italy, Cameroon, China or anyone else in a country overseas who wants to see what all the hubbub about the NFL is.
“Twitter is where live events unfold and is the right partner for the NFL as we take the latest step in serving fans around the world live NFL football,” commissioner Roger Goodell said.
“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.”
The first TNF game streamed on Twitter this year — a Jets win over the Bills — reached 2.3 million users worldwide, according to Forbes. The average audience size at any given time during the game was 243,000 people.
The NFL also did it because it seems cutting edge and whatnot.
Hey, have you heard that millennials are cutting ties with cable companies and satellite providers? Probably so, unless you’ve been roaming the wilderness without modern technology for the last year and a half.
(For the record: Not knocking you if you did. Technology can be overwhelming sometimes.)
“This is about transforming the fan experience with football. People watch NFL games with Twitter today,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said. “Now they’ll be able to watch right on Twitter Thursday nights.”
Folks who watch Broncos at Chargers on Twitter also will get pregame Periscope broadcasts and in-game highlights.
But why did Twitter do the deal?
Two reasons, mostly: To boost declining revenue growth with advertising dollars, and to expand Twitter’s stagnant active user base.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Twitter is making between $1 million and $8 million in advertising revenue for every game. The WSJ also said $5 million gets advertisers two 30-second commercials per game as well as ads interspersed with video clips during games.
As for Twitter’s attempts to grow its active user base: It’s difficult to determine how well that attempt is going (almost) five TNF games in. But we do know that Twitter’s active monthly users increased just 1 percent to 313 million in the second quarter of 2016, per Forbes. So it makes sense that Twitter is willing to try new things to get that number up.
How do I watch on Twitter?
It’s easy: Log onto Twitter and click the “Moments” tab during the game. Or punch in tnftwitter.com.