Digital Transformation Twitter Sports Marketing

Twitter builds on live streaming business with National Women’s Hockey League deal

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By Tony Connelly | Sports Marketing Reporter

June 20, 2017 | 4 min read

Twitter has broadened its global live streaming business after agreeing to a new partnership with the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL).

NWHL

The NWHL launched in 2015 and will now be the second professional women's sports league to have a Twitter live streaming deal

The deal with the women’s professional ice hockey league will feature the league’s four teams and will cover 16 regular season games in addition to the All-Star Game and two games from the NWHL/Team Russia Summit Series.

The 19 games will be produced by the NWHL and will be exclusive to Twitter, which will broadcast the fixtures globally for free to both logged-in and logged-out users.

“With this partnership, Twitter will expand the NWHL audience and give these professional women’s hockey players the major platform they deserve,” said NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan. “This is a big and important step forward for our league as we approach our third season. I want to thank Twitter for its dedication to women’s sports.”

Twitter’s chief operational officer, Anthony Noto, added: “We are thrilled to feature more live professional women’s sports on Twitter by collaborating with the NWHL. Fans around the world will now be able to view live the fast-paced, exciting action on the ice on the same platform where the conversation about hockey is happening.”

The deal with the NWHL marks the second live streaming agreement with a women’s professional sports league for Twitter. Last month the social media company announced a deal with the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) to broadcast 20 games on the platform.

As part of the agreement, Twitter and the NWHL will collaborate on marketing and promotion of the league and broadcasts. The live stream on Twitter will also include advertising packages.

Losing out to Amazon for the NFL live streaming rights hasn’t deterred Twitter in expanding its live video offering. It agreed to a multi-year deal with the NFL to show live football programme including side-line interviews and highlights. It also has live streaming partnerships with the NFL and PGA Tour.

The strategy has extended beyond sport as well due to Twitter’s deal with Bloomberg, which will produce an exclusive round the clock news show.

Overall the live streaming strategy could help Twitter secure traditional TV ad revenue. The platform is attempting to appeal to traditional TV advertisers, which are accustomed to buying commercial ad space based on broad demographics such as age and gender. However, advertisers and brands are likely to remain apprehensive to spend on Twitter until the company shows sustained user growth and engagement.

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