More Than 2 Million Watched NFL on Twitter

By Steve Safran 

The numbers are in. According to the NFL, this week’s Thursday Night Football was seen in some part by 48 million people, with Twitter adding another two million viewers. Here’s the breakdown:

  • The game was seen by an average of 15.4 million viewers on CBS and NFL Network. (That’s the number of people watching during any given minute.)
  • At any given minute, Twitter brought in an additional 243,000 viewers across its different platforms.
  • In total, across CBS and NFL Network, 48 million people saw at least one minute of the Jets-Bills game.
  • In total, 2.3 million people watched on Twitter for at least three seconds.
  • The game’s ratings were 20 percent higher than the average of the 16 Thursday Night Football games in 2015.

Now, here’s an engagement number that’s important: those who watched on Twitter spent an average of 22 minutes tuned in. Keep in mind – a mobile audience is a focused audience. This isn’t ambient TV. If you’re watching something on your phone, you’re watching. (No, not everyone watching on Twitter was doing so on a mobile device, but many were.) This is going to be a key metric in determining value for advertisers.

So, was this a success? The market liked what it saw: Twitter stock closed up four percent Friday. We don’t know how many Twitter viewers were additive – people who wouldn’t have watched the broadcast. And the Twitter feed saw significantly fewer viewers than Yahoo’s livestream of a Bills-Jaguars game last season.

The Jets beat the Bills 37-31. Here’s the Thursday Night Football schedule for the rest of the season – all remaining nine games will be on Twitter and its affiliates:

  • Week 3, Sept. 22: Houston Texans at New England Patriots
  • Week 5, Oct. 6: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
  • Week 6, Oct. 13: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers
  • Week 7, Oct. 20: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
  • Week 11, Nov. 17: New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
  • Week 13, Dec. 1: Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings
  • Week 14, Dec. 8: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
  • Week 15, Dec. 15: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks
  • Week 16, Dec. 22: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles