It seems Twitter’s drive to become a home for sports streaming is continuing. Following their test run of streaming at Wimbledon and their deal to stream the NFL’s Thursday Night Football broadcasts this fall, the company is living up to their comments about wanting more sports streaming deals, most recently signing one with the Pac-12 Networks. On Thursday, the Pac-12 announced that Twitter will stream over 150 games from their conference this year.
There are a few caveats here. These are events from less-prominent sports, they’re produced by the Pac-12’s schools rather than the network itself and are designed for the web rather than TV, and they’ll be streamed on the school and conference websites as well. Still, at the very least, this is a way for Twitter to bolster its streaming sports content without significant costs, and a way for the Pac-12 to gain some extra exposure for broadcasts they were already doing without losing the ability to feature those broadcasts on their own sites. Here are more details:
Pac-12 Networks announced today that Twitter will be its premier streaming partner for Pac-12 Plus, a broadband network of live events produced by the conference’s 12 universities, with at least 150 games over the 2016-2017 academic year live streamed to fans on Twitter.
“The Pac-12 Networks’ collaboration with Twitter reflects our ongoing commitment to increasing exposure for Pac-12 universities and their live, school-produced events,” said Pac-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans. “By expanding our digital footprint, Pac-12 Plus also allows us to connect more fans with more, live Pac-12 sports content through a platform they use every day.”
“Twitter is the fastest way to find out what is happening in live sports,” said Anthony Noto, Twitter’s chief financial officer. “Our partnership with the Pac-12 Networks will give sports fans a great way to view live sporting events along with the live Twitter conversation they are already accustomed to.”
The final roster of school-produced Olympic events shown on Pac-12 Plus will be determined as the season approaches, but will include Olympic sports such as soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, ice hockey, swimming & diving, softball, track & field, wrestling, lacrosse, tennis, and water polo.
So, these broadcasts aren’t the Pac-12’s premier content, and they won’t necessarily get a huge audience, but this could be a good way for the conference to build some exposure for its less-prominent sports. It might be easier to get people to tune in to broadcasts if they’re already on Twitter than if they have to seek out a school or conference page. This also should give Twitter more content as it ventures into sports streaming, and more opportunities to evaluate and develop its streaming protocols under less of a critical spotlight. By itself, this deal isn’t necessarily earth-shattering, but it does reflect the Pac-12’s push into alternate distribution channels (important, considering the issues they’re still having with traditional distribution) and Twitter’s push for more live sports content. It’s probably a good bet that this won’t be the last Twitter streaming deal we see.