Leagues Embrace Twitter, with Eye on Future Revenue

Link URL: https://twitter.com/nfl











(from Sports Business Journal, October 27, 2013) As social media outlets like Twitter continue to grow, executives from the major pro-sports are looking for new ways to benefit from the consumer conversation that is social media.  Seeing as sports fans are becoming more and more Twitter savvy, there is much to be said about the stakes involved in various leagues partnering with Twitter.  On October 13 at the time when the MLB’s American League Championship Series was being broadcast on Fox and when the NFL’s Sunday Night Football was being broadcast on NBC, Twitter was “blowing up” with over 1.1 million combined tweets from viewers of the events and tens of millions of tweets from others joining the conversation about the sporting events.  As a result of these astonishing numbers, Twitter’s executives are pushing for leverage in negotiations with various leagues.

Twitter is making its case as a source of raising TV ratings for sporting events.  As Omid Ashtari (Twitter’s Head of Sports and Entertainment) put it, “When you get people to tweet about your show, the ratings will go up.”  Certainly Twitter is a marketing platform in which sports can be directly promoted to fans (and non-fans) on a personal level.  The question, however, that remains is how can Twitter use its partnership with leagues to raise TV ratings?  One way Twitter is hoping to prove its point is through a recent deal with Nielsen which will create a social media influenced set of TV ratings.

Already the MLB, NFL, and NBA have deals in place with Twitter that help to engage fans not only during events but also in between games as well.  Pro-sports are realizing more now than ever that large numbers of fans care more about player stories and background information than they do about the events themselves.  Through Twitter’s new service Amplify, leagues are also able to use Twitter as a means to figure out ways of generating revenue through social media.  In the end this measure of bottom line value to league revenues will determine the level of involvement pro-sports will have in the Twitter-world going forward.