Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is Twitch’s most popular live-streaming gamer. Now he’s taking his play-by-play skills to the NFL — although it remains to be seen how many of his millions of followers are actually interested in his commentary on gridiron action.
This season, Amazon-owned Twitch has provided free live-streaming feeds of the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football,” under Amazon’s two-year deal with the league for worldwide digital rights to 11 games per season. Twitch streams the games at twitch.tv/primevideo and offers an array of interactive features including stat overlays and custom NFL emoji.
In addition, several Twitch personalities have “co-streamed” the games, providing their own live commentary as they watch along with their followers. On Thursday, Dec. 13, Ninja (at twitch.tv/ninja) will join other Twitch gamecasters including Jericho, TimTheTatman and GoldGlove to call the L.A. Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs matchup, which kicks off at 8:20 p.m. ET.
Ninja has more than 12 million followers on Twitch, where the 27-year-old has specialized in “Fortnite” gameplay of late. He’s been joined on his Twitch channel by athletes, musicians and celebrities, including Drake and Ellen DeGeneres, and was the first esports player on the cover of ESPN The Magazine.
Blevins, in a statement provided by Amazon, averred that he is “a lifelong NFL fan, which runs in my family.”
“It’s cool to be able to co-stream and commentate a ‘Thursday Night Football’ game for my Twitch community and connect with them over other interests like this,” he added.
Amazon’s distribution of “TNF” on Twitch is designed to maximize the audience reach for the games, and by extension ad impressions. It’s also supposed to further the NFL’s aim of cultivating younger, digitally savvy fans around the world.
In addition to Twitch, “Thursday Night Football” games are available on Fox, NFL Network, and Amazon Prime Video. Among other features on Prime Video, Amazon gives customers the option to select from four audio feeds, including one with sports journalists Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer.
Twitch’s live-streaming of “TNF” also features a charitable angle: The company is donating $1 to United Way per 100 “Bits” cheered by viewers. Bits are a virtual currency used in Twitch chats (priced starting at $1.40 for 100 Bits) that let users virtually cheer for broadcasts.