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Tech Industry

The bid to stream NFL: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or Amazon?

Twitter had a successful run with the NFL last season. Now, other tech giants are hoping for an interception.

Four tech giants are bidding for streaming rights to the NFL's Thursday Night Football.

NFL

Four tech giants are hoping to stream Thursday Night Football.

Facebook, Amazon, YouTube and Twitter are seeking the rights from the National Football League, according to Recode.

Amazon did not respond to requests for comment. Facebook and Twitter declined to comment.

"We don't comment on rumor or speculation," a YouTube spokeswoman wrote in an email.

Winning streaming rights would be a major play for any of the four websites, as they vie for viewers and advertising revenue through live broadcasts. While primarily a social network, Facebook has been pushing to expand its live streaming service, as Amazon continues to build its library of content. YouTube, with more than one billion users, wants to retain its stronghold on live streams and video content.

Twitter had a run with streaming the NFL's games on Thursday nights this past season, but the other streaming services are hoping for a chance too.

During the 2016-2017 season, Twitter signed a $10 million deal with the NFL to stream 10 games on Thursday nights, pairing the social network's live commentary and tweets with the game in real time. Twitter has been slowly increasing its live streams, with a focus on sports.

In the last year, it's snatched up streaming rights golf, lacrosse and basketball, but football remains the biggest draw for sports fans online. The social network drew 2.3 million viewers for its first streamed NFL game and reported an average of 3.5 million viewers per game.

Recode reported that NFL could make a decision in the next month.

Facebook, Amazon and YouTube all boast bigger audiences than Twitter, and that statistic could entice the NFL to move away from Twitter. However, Twitter did beat out the other three companies for the same deal last year.

Thursday Night Football also airs on NBC, CBS and the NFL Network cable channel, pitting online streaming against traditional broadcast. (Editors' note: CNET is owned by CBS.)

Updated at 8:45 a.m. PT: To include comments from YouTube.