The NFL announced this morning that Twitter has earned the rights to broadcast Thursday Night Football games this fall. The social media site will live stream 10 of the 16 Thursday Night Football games, streaming those broadcast on either NBC or CBS.
The league reached a deal with NBC this year to carry some Thursday night games, adding them to the mix with CBS (who broadcasted several of the games last year) and NFL Network. For the ten games broadcast on either NBC or CBS, they will also be simulcast on NFL Network and will now be streamed live on Twitter as well, completing the NFL's "Tri-Cast" model of distributing their product. The remaining six Thursday Night Football games will be televised exclusively on NFL Network.
The deal with Twitter also includes the rights to in-game Thursday Night Football highlights, as well as pre-game Periscope broadcasts from players and teams. The content will be free and will not require someone to be a registered twitter user in order to access it. Amazon, Verizon, and Facebook also were reported as having been in the bidding at some point to stream NFL games, though Twitter won out.
It's unclear whether or not the Colts will be a part of this ground-breaking deal as the NFL continues to expand its presence, as only 10 of the 16 Thursday Night Football games will be live streamed on Twitter. We won't find out whether the Colts will play in one of those games until the schedule is released (likely later this month), but there's a chance they will be - and either way, it will be interesting to see how the live stream model on Twitter works.