Twitter’s New Revenue-Generating Strategy and Its Sponsorship Potential

By Jessi Sanchez Dec 2, 2013

Twitter’s New Revenue-Generating Strategy and Its Sponsorship Potential

Twitter is securing top notch sports video highlights, having first done a deal with the NFL and more recently with broadcaster BSkyB for UEFA Champions League matches. Being a fan of both, I can see the tremendous potential in these agreements.

As a recent Wall Street Journal article explained about the NFL deal, “The initiative is part of Twitter's Amplify revenue-generating program that lets TV content owners distribute programming in users' Twitter feeds, with short ads embedded. The companies share the ad revenue.” 

This appears to be a classic win-win-win scenario for Twitter, leagues, broadcasters and sponsors/advertisers, but will fans win? Will advertisers’ presence interrupt and annoy, or can they enhance the user/fan experience? 

Verizon Wireless is currently the primary advertiser on NFL Twitter highlights.  This means the videos are preceded by an NFL Mobile from Verizon Wireless spot and the tweets carry a “This video is promoted by Verizon Wireless” tag.

Couldn’t Verizon Wireless use the opportunity to create more useable/sharable content and enhance the fan experience? 

For example, the carrier could create a microsite of top NFL plays (with rankings possibly based on number of retweets) of the week/month/season. They could reward the Twitter user with the most creative highlight headline (again perhaps based on number of retweets) with a tailgate party, new tablet or phone.

The possibilities are nearly endless and the potential very promising if advertisers play their cards right. To get it right, they will need to do the following:

Properly integrate. Prompt participation, don’t just add clutter.

Enhance the fan experience. Twitter is currently the most likely to be thanked by fans for providing the highlights, but a brand that thinks and acts like a sponsor instead of an advertiser can change that.

Ensure this key inventory is offered to a limited number of partners. Brands must insist that this is an exclusive opportunity. If there are too many sponsors sharing “ownership” of Twitter highlights, clutter reigns and messages will be ignored.

Along similar lines is the question of whether Twitter and the NFL will reserve this inventory exclusively for league sponsors or make it available to a larger pool? In the spirit of reserving valuable rights for your biggest and best partners and limiting ambush potential, the NFL would be wise to limit this opportunity to league partners.


branded content digital media social media sports activation


About the Author

Jessi is responsible for ESP Properties’ research products and services, which provide strategic guidance in the evaluation, activation and measurement of sponsorships. Jessi also helps brands and properties understand the value of their partnerships.


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Metin Odemis 12/3/2013 6:30 PM
If a brand that doesn't have the "rights" for that space tries to "steal" the engagement, I think it would be outed by the participating audience (including the rightful brand), or at least the part of the audience smart enough to figure it out, and which any smart brand would want not want to recognized as such by them... Create your own alignment and pay for the privilege?
Jessi Sanchez 12/2/2013 12:46 PM
Thanks for the post and tweet Metin. It is key for the brand with this sponsorship right to be very active in the second screen discussion around this on Twitter - it will also be interesting to see if a another brand (one that does not have the right and very active on Twitter) leverages that conversation and redirects the attention/conversation to them
Metin Odemis 12/2/2013 11:42 AM
Since sports are watched live, a second screen engagement via Twitter, branded by sponsor(s), would definitely make the one-dimensional TV viewing more interactive, while creating more call-to-action opportunities for the brand, especially if they also actively participate in the second screen discussion on Twitter...


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