As the cable TV bundle falls apart, the battle to stream sporting events has a surprising early leader: Twitter.
Three months after reaching an agreement with the NFL to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games this fall, Twitter is in talks with the NBA, MLS and Turner to acquire more streaming rights.
According to recode, Twitter hopes to stream not only live games but also pre- and post-game coverage of major events. The site has been streaming interviews, commentary and updates from Wimbledon during the late stages of the tournament (though not without some kinks).
The idea here is that Twitter wants to be the digital streaming arm for any and all live events, particularly around sports and entertainment. The fact that it’s talking to the largest players and rights holders in the industry is no surprise.
“We’re not just talking to the leagues, we’re also talking to the broadcast partners of the leagues and the cable network partners of the leagues,” Twitter CFO Anthony Noto told Recode back in April. Now we know who some of those leagues and networks are.
Twitter is reportedly interested in partnering with Turner because of the network’s wide array of TV rights, which include the MLB playoffs, the NBA regular- and post-season and the NCAA Tournament.
With more and more TV-viewers looking to the internet for their favorite shows, it figures sports leagues won’t be far behind in dealing streaming rights to the highest online bidder. And when leagues do decide to open the floodgates and stream their games online through third parties, they’ll have no shortage of suitors. In addition to Twitter, Amazon was reportedly interested in the Thursday Night Football package, and Netflix, Facebook and Apple could get involved as well. Last fall, Yahoo streamed its first NFL game.
Meanwhile, Twitter is desperately trying to engage new users and could use sports streaming to draw in people who otherwise might not be on the platform. The future of sports TV is wide open, and clearly Twitter wants to be a part of it.