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Facebook Reportedly Backs out of Deal to Stream NFL Thursday Night Games

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 1, 2016

Nov 15, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; The NFL Logo on goal post padding during the game between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.  Detroit won 18-16.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

If the NFL is going to stream Thursday night games in 2016, it will not be doing so with the use of social-media giant Facebook.

According to Bloomberg, Facebook backed out of a potential deal with the NFL after the two sides did not agree on the NFL's advertising model for live games:

While a deal to stream the most-watched American sport on the most-popular social network has obvious appeal, Facebook likes its live videos to be commercial-free and balked at the NFL’s traditional advertising model, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Early morning London games that come with the deal were also a turn-off, according to the person.

The NFL has slowly been increasing its online streaming presence. Last year, Yahoo spent $17 million for the right to steam an October game between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars in London. 

Yahoo gained a lot of attention for the game, with Julia Boorstin of CNBC noting the site said 15.2 million unique visitors came to Yahoo and generated 33.6 million video streams.

Per Bloomberg, the NFL is still shopping the digital rights for Thursday Night Football and is considering Verizon, Yahoo and Amazon.

Verizon has a deal with the NFL to stream games on smartphones, and Yahoo has some history with the NFL.

Amazon has gotten into the original programming field in the last few years and is in competition with Netflix and Hulu among streaming sites, so a deal with the NFL would presumably increase the company's market. 

Even though Facebook and the NFL don't see eye to eye on advertising during games, it's hard to feel bad for the NFL. It's going to find a site that will stream its games the way it wants them to be streamed because, as Yahoo's event proved last year, it will bring a lot of people to their computers.

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