The NFL is streaming every Thursday Night Football game on Twitter this year. Thursday's Patriots-Texans game drew positive numbers, a boost of 34 percent over the first game that was streamed—Week Two's Jets victory over the Bills.
It was good news for Twitter after the first streaming game produced startlingly low numbers.
The New England-Houston Twitter stream produced an average of 327,000 viewers and reached 2.6 million people worldwide, according to Venture Beat. In comparison to television viewing, these numbers are still relatively miniscule.
The Patriots-Texans game, a smooth, 27-0 victory for New England under third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett, drew an average TV audience of 17.9 million viewers, and CBS and NFL Network reached a total of 50.5 million people.
Nonetheless, it is an improvement. The snoozer between the Bills and Jets reached 2.1 million Twitter viewers, with an average audience size of 243,000.
In other words: very few people watched the game on Twitter. Granted the viewing audience for the Bills-Jets game was smaller than that of New England-Houston, but not by much; the Bills-Jets game reached 48.1 million people on TV.
Whether Twitter will ever rival the viewing numbers reached through TV remains to be seen, but at this point it seems unlikely. It is early, but it seems the vast majority of football fans prefer to watch the game on a larger TV set.
It'll be interesting to see how this impacts advertising through Twitter during the games. So far, marketers have paid nearly half as much for a Twitter ad as they would for a CBS commercial.
Before this year, Twitter offered video highlights from games, but this is the first time the social media juggernaut has ventured into live professional sports streaming.
As Twitter's livestreaming NFL strategy continues to develop, it's important to keep in mind that the platform may be sold soon. CNBC reports that both Google and Salesforce are interested.
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