Twitter did lose the NFL deal to Amazon, but now, the micro-blogging site has entered into a deal with the WNBA to stream 20 games a year over the next few seasons. The WNBA will be the first women’s sport to be streamed live on the platform. The WNBA will have its inaugural game on May 14 when the Dallas Wings will play against the Phoenix Mercury.
Twitter expands its Live portfolio with WNBA
The WNBA also joins Twitter’s Amplify program, which includes 40 highlight packages per week on the micro-blogging site. Dallas Wings president and chief executive officer Greg Bibb said that this historic tie-up will open the door for fans to engage with brands in a new and exciting way, and the team is looking forward to streaming four games on the interactive and dynamic platform and featuring other WNBA contests this season and in the future.
Twitter has expanded its live broadcasting portfolio with 12 new offerings, and the WNBA is one of them. Other programs in Twitter’s Live portfolio include the MTV Awards shows, coverage of Fashion Week in New York, Paris, London, and Milan, producing and hosting a 24/7 streaming news network with Bloomberg (coming this fall), Cheddar’s Opening Bell, The Verge’s Circuit Breaker, and BuzzFeed’s Morning Feed.
Anthony Noto, Twitter’s chief operating officer, stated, “Adding these 12 new live deals tonight is a testament to the success of our only-on-Twitter experience, combining high quality streaming video with our only-on-Twitter conversation.”
It’s not just sports that Twitter is interested in streaming; the company has also partnered with Live Nation to exclusively live-stream video of concerts. Artists such as Portugal The Man, August Alsina, Train and Marian Hill will have their shows streamed on the platform, notes TechCrunch.
Further, the San Francisco-based company, which has seen sluggish growth in online advertising, will discuss its future offerings in a conference organized by Interactive in New York City, notes CBC.
Internet firms challenge traditional broadcasters
Apart from the WNBA, other sports programs will include a 360-degree video of the 17th hole at the PGA’s Players Championship golf tournament this month and a weekly Major League Baseball show featuring highlights and commentary.
Live-streaming of sport events has drawn Facebook as well. The social networking giant inked several deals to stream live sporting events, including the NBA’s development league games for the 2016-2017 season. In March, Facebook and Major League Soccer announced that a minimum of 22 games will be available on Facebook in 2017.
For now, major players that hold sports rights are traditional broadcasters such as ABC/ESPN, CBS, NBC, and Fox Sports, and they shell out hundreds of millions of dollars to televise the games. Major online players such as Amazon and Facebook are financially rich enough to compete with traditional broadcasters, although they have not invested much money in sports rights so far, notes The New York Times.
On Monday, Twitter shares closed up 6.5% at $17.54. Year to date, the stock is up almost 8%, while in the last year, it is up almost 20%.