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Tech giants fight for NFL streaming rights

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Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have all submitted bids to stream Thursday night NFL games next season, Recode reports. Other companies likely also submitted bids, as groups like Yahoo and Verizon both competed for the contract last year. Here's where each company stands:

  • Twitter won the coveted deal to stream 10 games last year for 10 million dollars, a drop in the bucket compared to the streaming rights major networks have to pay. But it seems the investment only somewhat paid off for Twitter. While each game last year drew an average of 3.5 million unique viewers, Twitter's revenue and monthly active user base both only increased by less than 1% during the quarter.
  • Amazon reportedly outbid Twitter by $5 million last year, but they still lost the deal.
  • Facebook is pushing to win the sports live streaming business, and announced a partnership to stream MLB games earlier this month.
  • YouTube should be best positioned to win the deal, since it has the largest streaming audience and a pre-existing Google VR partnership with the NFL, but the company is currently going through a bit of an advertising and branding crisis that could make the NFL wary of doing business with them

Why it matters: Social and streaming companies are brokering content deals to win over TV audiences, in an attempt to eat at the $72 million U.S. TV ad market. They're going after sports deals for their live-streaming platforms because unlike most TV content, sports are still viewed live. (Per comScore, 90% of sports games are watched live, as opposed to 71% of dramas.)

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