Could the NFL soon be coming to Apple TV, courtesy of Twitter? That’s the natural conclusion to draw with reports of Twitter and Apple in negotiations to add the app to the Apple TV platform.
In April, Twitter beat out Facebook for the rights to live-stream NFL Thursday Night games. So if Twitter is soon available on Apple TV, that means those Thursday night games available for streaming could be viewed through the digital media player. Since acquiring the streaming rights to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package, the social media network has also worked out deals to live-stream Wimbledon, the NBA, NHL and MLB, along with the Pac-12.
Additionally, Twitter is also currently talking to MLS and the PGA about live-streaming deals.
Twitter in talks with Apple to bring app to Apple TV to allow users to stream sports; $TWTR also in talks for PGA, MLS streaming deals – NYT
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) August 15, 2016
But we all know that the NFL is the big deal here, as a powerhouse presence throughout professional sports and television broadcasts. Having Twitter available to stream online would have been enough of a breakthrough, allowing viewers to watch NFL games on their desktop or mobile devices. Yet a deal with Apple TV would allow that content to be watched on those big, beautiful flat-screens that almost all of us now have in our living rooms. (Presumably, Twitter’s live-streams could also be pushed to televisions through devices such as Google’s Chromecast, but would there be HD-quality video and audio with that?)
What isn’t yet known is how Twitter might integrate with the NFL live-stream broadcast. Will there be a social component allowing Twitter users to post tweets regarding the game on the screen during broadcast? Will everything that’s being tweeted about the game be a part of the live-stream, similar to what you’d see on a platform like Periscope?
That would presumably allow advertisers (such as Bank of America, which has purchased ad time on the live-stream broadcasts) to reach audiences that they might not get to through conventional broadcast or cable television, and could finally lead to a consistent revenue stream for Twitter, which has still had difficulty monetizing its service as Facebook has.
Twitter’s first live-stream broadcast will be the Sept. 15 game between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills at 8:25 p.m. ET.