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Twitter Shows It Can Still Hit Hard by Winning NFL Streaming Contract

Bird with twitter football helmet

As Twitter celebrated its 10th birthday recently, thoughts turned to how they can overcome their perception of stagnant growth and a plateaued brand image. The heart of the issue is that Twitter is having trouble attracting new users, and in this cynical, growth-obsessed capitalist society of ours, if you’re not on your way up, you might as well be going down.

Now, Twitter is fighting back with the power of the NFL.

As of April 5, the NFL signed a streaming deal with Twitter to exclusively broadcast 10 Thursday night games through their online platform during the 2016 football season. The deal has both the NFL and Twitter excited, but small businesses could likewise benefit from the renewed attention to the most agile and up-to-minute social media platform.

Why Would the NFL Care About Twitter?

With increasing efforts, the NFL has been branching out its broadcast offerings to include streaming video. Companies like Verizon have benefited immensely from contracts to deliver highlights, clips and entire broadcasts of NFL games. Broadcast networks have likewise stepped up their online football game, with the likes of NBC and CBS streaming some games live online.

But even with the desire to lure in cord cutters, brokering a deal with Twitter feels like a strange move. This sentiment becomes even more intense realizing the bargain basement price Twitter was offered of only $10 million — $1 million per game. By contrast, Yahoo paid $17 million to stream one single game. From London. Which happened at 9 in the morning, eastern time.

Answering the question that everyone was thinking, NFL executive vice president of media Brian Rolapp stated: “We did not take the highest bidder on the table.” He goes on to explain that “the [Twitter] platform is built around live events already. We want to see how they use the unique platform, and syndicated tweets all over the Internet is going to be interesting.”

The appeal is that Twitter has the power to fixate people while live social events are happening — the ubiquitous “live tweeting” phenomenon. As viewers migrate directly to the Twitter platform, discussions of the game can happen side-by-side the actual viewing, encouraging socialization, engagement and one big party where no one gets stuck bringing snacks.

This potential for new, emerging ways of viewing and discussing games is what has Twitter and the NFL giddy about their bold experiment. If successful, one can expect the live streaming events to eventually include other sports, political coverage and possibly even entertainment media.

Passing the Ball to Connected Businesses

For businesses with a social presence, the advent of Twitter’s NFL streams means opportunities for predictable, captive audiences to take to the channel. One of social media’s biggest frustrations is its erratic engagement levels that can fluctuate from month to month or day to day.

By knowing that a huge audience will be arriving at a certain time and will stay tuned for several hours, social accounts can prepare in advance for huge pushes using targeted hashtags and related conversations. The days leading up to the event can also mean sowing the seeds for getting attention during the stream with structured campaigns and strategically timed tweets.

In essence, Twitter and the NFL miraculously managed to recapture the magic of live television and combine it with the distraction of social media, creating a new venue from familiar elements that open the window to bold marketing experimentation.

If you want to get in on this action with the smartest, best-prepared social media strategy possible, let EverSpark guide your Twitter campaign in the lead up to the big games. We can take a few pages from our success playbook to make you the MVP of live tweeting. Take a look at our available digital marketing services to learn more.