- The NFL's audience on Amazon-owned Twitch rose 45% from a year earlier as more fans watched entire "Thursday Night Football" games on the livestreaming platform, per an announcement from Torque Esports. The company's Stream Hatchet analytics unit also observed a 34% yearly jump in total views for the 10 games that appeared on Twitch this season.
- The NFL audience on Twitch steadily grew throughout the season. Last week's game between the Baltimore Ravens and the New York Jets generated 1.2 million video views, up 274% from the 321,000 who watched the matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 26.
- Co-streaming and reaction content from viewers, a key differentiator of Twitch's platform from televised broadcasts, made up 50% of total watched content related to "Thursday Night Football." Twitch received 10.8 million views for "Thursday Night Football," for a total of 2.2 million hours viewing time, per the announcement.
The growing audience for NFL games on Twitch indicates that the livestreaming platform is helping the league to reach fans who are watching less broadcast or cable TV in favor of over-the-top services. Torque Esports' research supports other reports of a growing streaming audience for NFL games. For the opening week of the NFL season, 58% of surveyed adult viewers reported watching at least one game on a paid streaming service or app, per a study from Colling Media.
Viewer interactivity differentiates Twitch's platform from traditional broadcasts, letting fans react in message boards and creators to co-stream their own content related to the games. If current trends continue, Twitch may give rise to streamers whose audience of NFL fans rivals the entire league's, per Torque Esports. Fox has the broadcast rights to "Thursday Night Football" in a five-year deal, while Amazon won the streaming rights for Twitch and its Amazon Prime Video service. Last year was the first time the NFL season was available to watch on Twitch.
By streaming NFL's "Thursday Night Football" on Twitch, Amazon seeks to broaden the platform's appeal among a wider audience while deepening its connections with existing users. Amazon's expanded content offerings on Twitch include its transformation into a shopping channel for Prime Day. Twitch has more than 15 million users and between 2.2 million and 3.2 million monthly broadcasters, according to data compiled by Influencer Marketing Hub. While that audience is small compared with those of the leading social media companies and digital publishers, Twitch has a highly engaged user base that's difficult to reach through other media channels.
In addition to streaming games on Twitch, the NFL this year formed digital partnerships to connect with younger football fans. As part of the kickoff of its 100th anniversary season, the league created an account on ByteDance-owned TikTok to showcase game clips on the social video app that's popular among U.S. teens. The NFL also partnered with Reddit to reach the social web forum's user base of 330 million, 9 million of which access pro football-related communities each month. The league also premiered an exclusive weekly digital video series called "NFL Game Day All-Access" that streams on Google's YouTube.