By Amy Tennery
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Social media users were buzzing on Thursday as Twitter Inc prepared for its first broadcast of a National Football League game, a match up between the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills, which tests Twitter’s strategy of putting big games on small screens.
The live CBS broadcast of the game will be available on Twitter’s platform worldwide and is the first of 10 Thursday Night Football games the microblogging site plans to stream. Twitter users should be able to see tweet commentary running next to the game itself, complete with commercials.
Twitter has struggled with user growth and advertising competition, and livestreaming the games gives the social network a new avenue to attract users as it tries to catch up with rivals like Facebook Inc.
Media experts have said the NFL deal helps cement Twitter’s position as a venue for live video.
Twitter’s arrangement with the NFL comes as sports fans increasingly rely on the internet to watch video at the expense of traditional cable and satellite connections. Many already use Twitter to discuss events as they happen.
The broadcast will also be available through Twitter apps on Apple Inc TV globally and on Microsoft Corp Xbox One and Amazon Inc Fire TV in select countries.
Many Twitter users said they were excited to try out the new streaming platform.
“Not excited for @nyjets or @buffalobills tonight, but I will try watching #football on Twitter,” tweeted Peter Katevatis (@CGWM_Katevatis).
“Livestream sports on Twitter? Be still my beating heart,” wrote Christopher Breene (@GoForTopherB).
The game will be available on desktop computers and on mobile devices and will feature the same footage and commentary that is available on the television broadcast.
The NFL previously livestreamed an October 2015 game on Yahoo.
The Twitter video broadcast will begin Thursday at 7:30 pm EDT.
(Reporting By Amy Tennery; Editing by Peter Henderson and Andrew Hay)