Twitter and ESPN Introduce Sports Branded CampaignsBy: Chris Richardson - May 15, 2012
Due to the incredible volume of sports-related tweets that accompany almost every sporting event of note–the Women’s World Cup Final, for instance–Twitter is looking for a way to monetize these reactions. To address this endeavor, Twitter is partnering with ESPN to provide additional promoted content, focusing on the glut of sports-related tweets.
The idea for monetizing this content focuses on branded campaigns that focus on the whatever popular sporting event is taking place. For instance, the partnership allows brands to create custom campaigns around events like the Super Bowl and the World Cup. Essentially, Twitter and ESPN create the campaign–like GameFace, for instance (more on that in a moment)–which potential sponsors will be able to support.
GameFace, the first campaign from the new partners, will focus on the NBA Finals, and, according to Ad Age:
The goal of this initial campaign is to get fans to tweet photos of their best “game face” accompanied by the dedicated hashtag (#GameFace). At the end of each game of the finals, “NBA Tonight” studio analysts will display some of the top contest photographs on air. Some photos will also get exposure at ESPN.com/NBA.
As indicated, the campaigns–which will include promoted tweets and mentions on ESPN, ABC and ESPN.com–can be sponsored by interested parties.
While Twitter/ESPN haven’t sold a sponsorship package yet, there’s still some uncertainty concerning how these campaign tweets will be branded, but Ad Age suggests:
At a minimum, the GameFace sponsor’s brand will displayed within the on-screen promotion of the contest on ABC, most likely within a lower-third graphic. The sponsor’s brand is also expected to be tied into the Twitter page housing the GameFace photo entries.
While it is in its infancy, ESPN and Twitter already plans for the GameFace campaign. ESPN’s NBA analyst, Jalen Rose (@jalenrose) will post his top-five GameFace submissions on his Twitter account, and reveal the winner during an ESPN telecast (NBA Tonight, more than likely, although, expect SportsCenter to get in on the action as well). Ad Age has an example of what a #GameFace tweet may look like:
Considering the idea is to incorporate GameFace with the NBA Finals, we still have almost a month until the initial campaign starts showing up. That being said, does this sound like a successful monetization strategy or will the “takers” be few and far between? It would also make perfect sense if some big-name companies jump on the initial roll out–Nike, McDonald’s–but does this look like a sponsorship program that has legs?