Twitter Reportedly In Talks With Apple To Bring Free Live-Streamed NFL Games To Apple TV

Football (or American Football, for those of you outside of the U.S.) season is finally among us! Well, preseason football anyway, which is still an exciting time for fans of the sport. There are plenty of intriguing story lines leading into this season, such as Tom Brady's four game suspension that will see backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo get the start for the New England Patriots, and you may get to watch some of them play out live on Apple TV using Twitter's mobile app.

Having outbid Facebook and other tech giants to secure the rights to live-stream National Football Games (NFL) games on Thursday nights, Twitter is looking for how best to present the games and maximize streaming ad revenue. What the outfit has apparently decided is to build its own streaming video player, one that's optimized for live experiences.


Anthony Noto, chief financial officer for Twitter and a former Goldman Sachs banker, is spearheading the effort and has already tasked an engineering team with building the video player. He's well positioned for the task, having also served as CFO for the NFL. His relationships with the sports media industry are firmly rooted, making him an ideal candidate to bring Twitter and the NFL together on this streaming venture.

Should Twitter also get Apple to come along for the ride with its streaming set-top box, it would pave the way for millions of Apple TV viewers to stream NFL games. That would be a big deal for all parties involved, though it's not clear how close (or far away) the two sides are on hammering out a streaming agreement with one another.

It doesn't have to stop with football, either. Twitter's been on a sports frenzy this year—it's signed live streaming deals with CBS News, Major League Baseball, The National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, Pac-12 Networks, and Wimbledon. The microblogging service is also in talks to with other outfits, such as Major League Soccer.

Twitter was able to win the NFL deal by offering more favorable terms than the competition. For example, Facebook pushed for the right to sell all the ads that would air during games, whereas Twitter was more flexible on that front. Twitter also agreed to pay the NFL in the neighborhood of $10 million for streaming rights.