In an effort to further solidify their foothold on the sporting world, ESPN and Twitter recently announced a new partnership designed to maximize the use of their content and platforms respectively.
By creating a union that will facilitate ESPN to spread highlights video via Twitter, almost instantaneously, the sports media giant is hoping to further tap into the power of Twitter as a revenue stream. Likewise, the leading sports social media platform will receive guaranteed ad dollars through the use of promoted tweets in return.
ESPN plans to:
show video-highlight clips on Twitter of major sports events in the coming year, including from soccer matches leading up to the World Cup, college football and the X Games extreme-sports tournaments. People can watch the video clips on Twitter’s website and mobile apps shortly after the action happens on TV.
By officially jumping into the instant highlights game, ESPN is acknowledging the power of a tactic being used by bloggers with video capabilities. Especially within NBA circles on Twitter, key people are known for their almost immediate sharing of highlights in video, jpeg or gif format for the masses of basketball fans waiting to devour them. The better the highlight, the faster it gets shared—this creates a powerful and viral phenomenon which the media giants have no doubt paid attention to.
The immediate access to highlights, whether it’s video posted on Twitter or YouTube, has the added effect of lessening the importance of ESPN’s staple program (SportsCenter) which is founded upon sports highlights. Many sports fans, myself included, with access to immediate video clips, will now forego the show as a result of having already had consumed the video highlights via social media.
While the newly announced partnership will yield additional revenue dollars from advertisers seeking to capitalize on the popularity of sports on Twitter, instant highlights will more importantly allow ESPN to maintain a foothold on the sporting eyes that were once fixated on SportsCenter for their highlight needs.
Additionally, the move embeds ESPN further into the social conversation space—a highly-coveted slice of the new media pie with ever-growing importance in media budgets.