Twitter is selling NFL ad packages for as much as $8 million

Twitter wants to be paid like a star quarterback for its special football ad packages coming in the fall, some of which will run as high as $8 million, according to sources.

Twitter, which has a deal with the National Football League to live stream 10 games this season, has been pitching advertisers and agencies with 10-game ad packages that range from $2 million to $8 million. Twitter is packaging commercials during the live streams, as well as sponsorships alongside NFL highlight clips. The $2 million package doesn’t even come with a commercial during the games, according to a source who has heard the pitch. Instead, the advertiser gets pre-rolls before NFL content shared on Twitter outside the games.

All ad packages require that half of the spend go toward Twitter’s Amplify program, which serve the pre-roll ads ahead of their video clips. The NFL is perhaps Twitter’s most successful media partner at selling its tweets of game highlights to brands.

Twitter’s pitch is tricky. It only has the rights to carry the stream, which will originate from the broadcasts by NBC and CBS, which are splitting the Thursday night broadcast package. Twitter has only a limited number of in-game spots — about 10  each game — it needs to offer advertisers a lot more. That’s why it’s throwing in the promoted tweets, commercials before clips and sponsorships of live video from around the games using Twitter’s Periscope live-streaming service.

To sweeten the deal, Twitter is offering category exclusivity on the highest level of ad buy, an advertising source said. So far, it has sold half the live-stream inventory to sponsors, including Sony, Budweiser, Ford and Nestlé, according to one source familiar with the deals.

The source said that at least some advertisers were balking at the high prices and questioning the value of the sponsorships.

“For those that aren’t core NFL sponsors, that don’t care about category exclusivity, there’s no reason to buy from Twitter,” the source said.

NBC and CBS also broadcast the Thursday night games, and their commercials will run in the live stream on Twitter.

“The most interesting part — and I don’t mean that in a good way — is that for in-game spots, not only is Twitter not the exclusive broadcaster, it’s not the exclusive seller of inventory,” the ad industry source said.

Commercials through the broadcast partners cost a tenth of the price, the source said. “It’s a crap ton cheaper than what Twitter is selling,” the source said.

Twitter and the NFL declined comment.

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