We were about to do something unprecedented a couple of weeks ago: Congratulate the NFL on a move that would be unequivocally good for fans. News broke that Twitter had won the right to live-stream, FOR FREE, Thursday Night football games in the upcoming season.
Now yes, the NFL is basically selling the same games that they had already sold to other partners and will be making more money because of it. But any move that gives fans better access to their teams without an additional cost—especially in this era of skyrocketing ticket and cable prices--deserves praise.
But then the NFL went and proved why we can't have nice things. Now Twitter has decided not to live stream the three games next season taking place in London, and the NFL won't offer them to anyone else:
The NFL told Reuters that they are instead focusing on their recent digital streaming deal with Twitter, which included 10 Thursday Night Football games. Twitter did have the option to stream any of the three London games as part of the deal, but decided against showing them.
This announcement comes as no big surprise, as the NFL would not want to stray from their recent partnership with Twitter that sees the social media platform shelling out $1 million per game. So, selling the digital broadcasting rights of the three London games to another company is out of the question.
Sorry Colts, Jaguars, Bengals, Redskins, Rams, and Giants fans.
If the NFL is going to continue efforts to internationalize the league, they need to be equally aggressive with finding new ways for fans to watch their favorite teams. By moving the games to London in the first place they're denying fans access to their favorite teams in a very real way. Unfortunately, the new (albeit great) partnership seems to be equal parts progress and setback.