The big websites, just like the big networks periodically do, engage in a bidding war over broadcast rights to NFL games.
Variety reports that Facebook has joined Yahoo, Verizon, and Amazon in seeking rights to stream Thursday Night Football over the web next season. Verizon possesses the rights to broadcast games over smartphones through this coming season. In 2015, Yahoo reportedly paid somewhere near $20 million for rights to stream the Bills-Jaguars London Sunday game over the internet. More than 15 million unique visitors caught some of the game over the web.
Yahoo ranks as the website attracting the fifth most traffic. Facebook stands at number two, and it wants in on Yahoo’s NFL action.
“There’s a lot of interesting things we can do with sports,” Facebook’s Dan Rose told Variety. He explained, “If you think about how people engage on Facebook today, it’s not really around watching three hours of video.”
CBS, NBC, and the NFL Network share television rights to 18 Thursday night games this coming season. It’s possible that the competing technology companies divvy up Thursday’s games as well. Whether the NFL decides to become Facebook friends with the most popular site on the web depends entirely on the money Mark Zuckerberg and company show Roger Goodell.