The live feed of Day 9 at Wimbledon on Twitter was just a hint of the social media platform’s future plans: Users could stream NBA, Major League Soccer, and Turner for Sports if the talks with the aforementioned partners are successful.
Citing several sources familiar with the matter, Re/code reports that Twitter is interested in streaming video of major sporting events, so it has opened talks with the aforementioned parties to acquire digital streaming rights for content.
Turner is on the list because it has already locked up sports rights from a number of sources, including the NBA, MLB, and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, owns eSports league Eleague, and broadcasts professional video game competitions, which could make sense for a platform such as Twitter, the Re/code report says.
The sources also point to Twitter’s missing key component which makes content distribution via traditional cable packages profitable – it has subscription fees. Without them, Twitter is basically limited to a single source of revenue: advertising.
Another challenge Twitter needs to address in its offer, convincing existing rights holders that giving Twitter the streaming rights will actually benefit their existing TV offers. One possible scenario is that which we saw earlier this week with Wimbledon streaming: Twitter didn’t broadcast the live matches, but showed footage that would lure users into watching watch the match.
For example, Twitter might have more luck acquiring streaming rights for pre-game footage and analysis for NBA games than streaming rights for the games themselves. Putting this content on Twitter could be a way to drum up excitement for the main event without encroaching on the territory of existing rights holders.
Re/code’s sources say Twitter will likely get some more fringe content rather than game content, but since the talks are ongoing that could change.