Twitter to live stream NFL’s Thursday Night Football games

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NEW YORK (April 5, 2016) — Twitter will be live-streaming Thursday Night Football games this fall.

Not just short video clips — entire games.

The surprise news came Tuesday at the conclusion of a bidding war between several digital video heavyweights.

A person with direct knowledge of the deal confirmed a Bloomberg News report that Twitter will be the NFL’s digital partner, joining the league’s longtime television partners CBS and NBC.

In January, CBS and NBC agreed to pay roughly $450 million combined each year for the next two years of “Thursday Night Football” on TV.

The length of the Twitter streaming deal is unknown. Representatives of the two companies declined comment ahead of the official announcement about the deal.

Last week Facebook, which had publicly expressed interest in the rights to the streaming package, dropped out of the race. At that time, a source involved in the talks said “multiple suitors are still pushing hard” for the rights. Amazon and Verizon were said to be two of them.

The surprise move by Twitter, scoring the streaming rights to some of the most premium TV programming on the market, may show a new way forward for the highly-scrutinized startup.

The NFL and Twitter have previously worked together on promotional efforts like in-game highlights.

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