The National Football League is huddling with Twitter to score more highlights and exclusive game coverage on the social site through its Amplify program, which lets brands share in-tweet video clips, according to digital executives at the NFL.
The league’s move to re-up on Amplify is a testament to Twitter’s second-screen strategy, which is quickly becoming a companion to live television.
Last season, the NFL was among the early partners on Twitter Amplify, showing extra footage on certain game days, after games and during the off-season. The media program is a top priority for Twitter, which is trying to get the best entertainment brands to share with its 260 million users.
The NFL is in negotiations to broaden its presence and expand exclusive material—more video, photos and audio, said Vishal Shah, vp of NFL Digital.
“The NFL is the highest performing Amplify partner on Twitter,” he noted. “Reaching that type of scale on a consistent basis is typically unavailable outside of television.”
The NFL’s videos—including everything from the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady high-fiving to the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman simply talking—were clicked on 4.5 times more than the average Amplify partner’s messages, Shah said.
Up to 30 million consumers interact with the NFL via Twitter, with videos commanding a 5 percent view rate, rising in the off-season to the high single-digits, Shah added.
Last year, NFL contracts with other distribution partners only allowed for sharing in-game highlights from Thursdays on Twitter. This year, the NFL may be able to show Sunday coverage close to real time.
“Going into 2014, we have a lot more rights flexibility, where near-live content really become the NFL’s to distribute independent of the game window,” Shah said.
One industry source said that the NFL commands the most ad money on Twitter of any Amplify partner—a list that includes the NBA, The Weather Channel and the BBC. Last year, McDonald’s, Verizon and Microsoft paid seven figures each to sponsor the NFL’s Amplify videos and to promote the tweets, the source said.
Twitter and the NFL divide the revenue, but the league declined to say what the split was. Such details are still being hammered out ahead of next season.
In all, the NFL pulls in well more than $10 million in extra advertising, according to the industry source.
Twitter’s live stream of conversation is one of its few advantages over Facebook, which is trying to catch up with new features that highlight trending topics and let consumers share what they are watching on TV, said Christopher Tuff, head of emerging media and partnerships at 22squared.
“It’s all about accommodating the distracted consumer,” he explained. “When the commercial comes on, they’re turning to the feed to do something else.”