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Facebook are Bidding to Stream Thursday Night Football

The NFL regular season doesn't start up until late August, but with the draft impending and players getting traded, dropped and signed from free-agency in droves, it's still making the news every week. Typically, if there's a social network linked to a sports news item, it's Twitter, since social media tends to serve a reactionary purpose when it comes to sport, but Facebook are aiming to change that.

Reportedly, they have been in talks with the NFL about streaming the Thursday night games. This would be massive for Facebook, as statistically their engagement rates almost always dive during sports broadcast periods, especially American football. The bidding prices for NFL broadcasting rights are still astronomically high, but money isn't something Facebook are having an issue with at present, whilst CBS and NBC are actually losing money hand-over-fist on TNF.

Verizon and DirecTV both have standing streaming deals with the NFL for Sunday night football, Verizon paid $1 billion for theirs, and DirecTV are rumoured to have forked out closer to $1.5 billion. Facebook aren't the only ones in the running, reports suggest that Google, Apple and Amazon are also eyeing the rights, but Facebook have actually confirmed that they are interested. The NFL declined to name any bidders, thus far, and they likely won't start making noise about this until the contract gets signed.

If Facebook do get it, it'll fit neatly into line with their ongoing video push, and it will give them some viewing figures that they can brag about with stretching or massaging the truth. What they really need to worry about is the actual quality of the feeds, Yahoo built up a lot of hype about their stream of the Buffalo Bills/Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley game last season, but the stream was fraught with issues and probably ended up doing the tail-spinning company more harm than good.

It looks like Facebook are looking to build a decent audience before they start looking at ways to really flesh out the feature, but the smart money says that they'll look to create a whole mess of pre and post-game content to line up with the broadcasts, similar to what Snapchat have been doing. They did introduce Sports Stadium last month to coincide with the Super Bowl, but as a standalone offer it didn't go over all that well, and failed to bring them engagement figures to match Twitter's. Sports fans are one of the audiences Facebook have struggled to coax, so this might be the thing to rescue them.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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Facebook are Bidding to Stream Thursday Night Football Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, March 10, 2016 Rating: 5

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