Twitter Amplifying the Sports World

If you were near a television screen on Thanksgiving weekend, chances are you might have witnessed Auburn CB Chris Davis return a missed 57-yard field goal attempt that would keep the world talking. The sports world was speechless, but it didn't seem that way over social media. Everyone was tweeting about this miraculous play, from sports fans to ESPN Analysts to Chris Davis himself. The conversation was real-time, was on-going and it was only a matter of time before advertisers found a way to get involved.

With secondary screens becoming the norm, you might be one of millions watching with either a tablet, laptop or cellular phone accompanying your television. You simply can't get around it, digital media has truly transformed the way we take sports in.

According to a post on Twitter's advertising blog, nearly 95% of public real-time engagement with television happens over Twitter. Advertisers, league properties, and individual teams have all taken notice of these adjustments of how people view sports, but until recent years its' been difficult for any company to monetize the power of social media and really determine a concrete number for their return on investment. Enter Twitter Amplify.

With the Amplify program, content providers have been able to utilize embedded tweets that coordinate with real-time footage that really increases the social TV conversation. For example, the NBA leverages sponsored tweets that show either exclusive content or real-time footage through their hashtag #NBARapidReplay, with an accompanying short commercial from a sponsor such as Sony, Sprint, or Taco Bell. Additionally, advertisers can now see when certain ads appear on television, therefore allowing them to reinforce their broadcasted advertisement through promoted tweets, making the double-screen viewing experience even more impactful for brands.

In the past year, Twitter has built Amplify partnerships with the MLB, NFL, PGA, ESPN and the NBA, allowing CEO Dick Costolo to be recognized as the sixth most influential man in sports by the Sports Business Journal. Not only are large sports properties taking advantage, but broadcasting powerhouses such as BBC America, Fox, and the Weather Network have all built strong ties to the program in order to advance revenue generation efforts and audience interaction. With the World Juniors coming up this week, even Canadian media giant TSN have partnered with Twitter to provide real-time video highlights with accompanying advertisements from McDonald's Canada.

Speaking of Canadian giants, as Toronto based sports property Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) grow their global presence under new CEO Tim Leiweke, they have positioned themselves as a digital leader through a new partnership with Twitter Amplify. This is the first partnership involving an individual team but unlike Twitter's partnerships with the NBA and NFL, MLSE won't be able to showcase game highlights. Since the footage is owned by league properties, efforts will instead be focused on releasing customized content that will gear up any Leafs or Raptors fan for game day. “No-one has cracked the code on monetizing social (media), and we’ve made our first sale,” says Dave Hopkinson, MLSE’s chief commercial officer. “We’re underway. The future is very bright.”

Digital media no longer acts as a competitor to broadcast. Alternatively it has become a strong ally that focuses on driving traffic to television and complementing real-time conversations. Twitter's Amplify program focuses on creating an integrated multi-platform marketing tool that can allow brands to guide real-time conversations while creating another way for advertisers, properties, and Twitter to monetize the game-changing power of social media.