The NFL announced today it has signed an exclusive deal with Twitter that allows the social network to broadcast live digital broadcasts of Thursday Night Football to worldwide audiences.

iStock_000080564941_MediumThe social network was able to score this deal despite underbidding rivals Amazon, Verizon, and Facebook.The NFL has stated that, as an organization, it was not so much interested in selling its broadcast rights to the highest bidder, but rather awarding them to the provider it believed would be able to reach the right audience in the most effective manner.

Since 2013, Twitter has had a relationship with the NFL that allows it to display highlights, and because of this, the company has fostered a healthy relationship with the NFL. For example, the @NFL handle currently has 17.2 million followers.

Neither Twitter nor the NFL has commented on how the social network will incorporate this newest addition of live football feed into its own news feed, but the prospect certainly opens many avenues for Twitter. Not only does it offer an exclusive opportunity for the company to broadcast live highlights from the nation’s most popular sport, but it also gives Twitter yet another chance to show the world that it can appeal to a wider audience.

This deal comes at a critical moment for Twitter. Video is exploding, and more than 90% of video views occur on mobile devices. An exclusive pairing with the NFL makes Twitter essential for the on-the-go football fan trying to keep up with his favorite team on a Thursday night. How the company plans to implement its privileges, and if it will be successful remains to be seen.

Sourcing via Social Media Today.