Twitter Inc (TWTR) Tests Live Sports, Streams Wimbledon Tennis

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Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has long been talking about live experiences being the future and took the first big step in this direction with a deal to live-stream NFL games. Then on Wednesday, the company took another step by streaming free tennis coverage from Wimbledon, thus giving users a glimpse of what the future might hold, reports Fortune.

Live-streaming could get Twitter more ads

Similar to Moments – a curated selection of tweets about a news event – Twitter’s new feature will has its own dedicated web address but with one difference. It has the word “live” in the URL. In the desktop version, the live stream of the tennis match appeared in a standalone video window on the left side of the screen, while related tweets were shown in a column next to it. In the mobile version, the video window is on the top and stays there as one scrolls through.

In a statement, Twitter said it is “increasingly a place where people can find live streaming video, and that includes exciting sporting events like Wimbledon.” Describing the live-stream as an “extremely early and incomplete test experience,” the micro-blogging firm said it will make many improvements to the feature before launching its final version.

Twitter will be hoping that streaming NFL like events will encourage users to spend more time on the platform. This, in turn, should help it improve its sales pitch to advertisers.

EPSN the source of the stream

Apart from a brief mention on Wimbledon’s official Twitter’s account, the micro-blogging firm made no formal announcement of the feature. Thus, there was information on the source of the stream. But it was known that the coverage was not exactly live, as on Wednesday afternoon, the video window displayed that the coverage had ended for the day, even when the matches were still going on.

Twitter got the feed from ESPN, a spokesperson for the sports network confirmed. ESPN bought the rights for Wimbledon in 2011. It is a streaming version of the feature ESPN produces for the tennis club called Live @ Wimbledon. This includes replays, analysis and interviews but not live coverage of matches. Usually this is available only to ESPN subscribers.

“ESPN has worked with The All England Club on its presentation of Live @ Wimbledon, which complements our live match coverage across ESPN and WatchESPN,” said ESPN’s Amy Phillips. “We worked with Twitter and our partners at the All England Club to simulcast the content within Twitter’s environment as well.”

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