The NFL jumps to Twitter Spaces after initial Clubhouse partnership

The National Football League is signing on to use Twitter Spaces. As part of a new deal with Twitter — which will see the social network continue to run game highlight videos — the NFL has agreed to host 20 live audio rooms throughout the 2021 season. Those will include “current NFL players and other NFL talent” as hosts discussing the season’s matchups.

Twitter’s partnership with the NFL would appear to be a blow to Clubhouse, which previously partnered with the league to host live audio rooms during the draft in April. It was Clubhouse’s first official sports league programming — and now the NFL has jumped to Twitter and signed on to be Twitter’s first sports partner. A Clubhouse spokesperson said the company has an “ongoing relationship” with the NFL and NFL Players Association. Clubhouse also partnered with the National Hockey League to host rooms around the Stanley Cup.

Spaces began launching on Twitter in December and the feature has expanded more widely in the months since. The launch came as Clubhouse was blowing up in popularity, but the live audio service now faces competition from all sides; in addition to Twitter, Facebook and Discord have launched competitors, and similar features are being developed inside Slack, Reddit, and LinkedIn.

While the vast majority of programming on these live audio apps is user-generated, the obvious next step for these networks is to try bringing in major talent to hook viewers who might not otherwise tune in. Twitter has been partnering with the NFL since 2013, so presumably, the network has seen some worthwhile engagement out of giving the league a formal presence on the app.