Twitter and the NFL Agree to Sell Video Ad Packages Together

Verizon Will Sponsor Tweeted Content Including Game Highlights

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Twitter has secured a purveyor of highly sought-after video content as its latest media partner to help sell packages of promoted tweets: the National Football League.

The pact with the NFL is the latest in a string of deals Twitter has done with more than 30 publishers, sports leagues and TV networks since January, and possibly one of the more lucrative ones based on the quantity of NFL fans and advertisers' zeal to reach them.

Under the program, sponsors including Verizon will be mentioned in promoted tweets sent out from the NFL's Twitter handle during the regular season and postseason, and given pre-roll placements in the attached videos.

A minority of the tweets will be the highly valuable video content of game highlights posted in near real time -- as soon as a minute after a play occurs -- from the 13 Thursday night games that air on the NFL Network.

Most of the tweets will be published on game days, especially Sunday, though the plan is to sprinkle them throughout the week. Other video content distributed on Twitter will include clips from Sunday and Monday night games that have already finished airing on network partners like CBS, news and analysis clips, fantasy football tips, and calls to action to entice people to vote in polls.

Multiple promoted tweets will be published each day for the duration of the season as part of the program, according to Vishal Shah, VP-digital media business development for the NFL. He expects the campaign to reach more than 20 million Twitter users, and not only football or even sports fans. Ads might be targeted to Twitter users based on influential people that they're following, for example.

"From a discovery standpoint, we do want to get in front of new audiences and expose them to our sport," he said.

Mr. Shah observed that the incremental ad revenue from ad sales with Twitter isn't the NFL's main reason for entering this partnership.

"The economics are certainly a good benefit but not necessarily the primary objective for us," he said. "We know that the fans are on Twitter, and we know the fans are consuming on social platforms. What we haven't seen anyone else do is find the right way to deploy some of the crown jewels from a rights perspective and make sure the fans get the content to add context to all that social conversation."

Twitter and the NFL declined to comment on how much the ad packages were sold for.

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