- Buffalo Wild Wings plans to host a live basketball competition on its Twitch channel, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. The restaurant chain will pit two competitors against each other in a game of H-O-R-S-E, which challenges players to take turns shooting at the basket from different locations.
- The competition, which streams on April 10 at 8 p.m. ET, will feature two social media stars: Thomas "Snacks" Lee, the student manager of the Jackson State men's basketball team whose three-point shot against Arkansas Pine Bluff went viral on social media, and Maxim Peranidze, who has gained a following at his @maxisnicee account on Instagram for imitating NBA players.
- Instead of playing on a court, Lee and Perandize will shoot baskets using a ball of socks and a laundry basket, consistent with the indoor trick shots that social media users share. The H-O-R-S-E game is the first in a series of live competitions called "Sports Live on – LIVE!" that Buffalo Wild Wings plans to livestream, per its announcement.
Buffalo Wild Wings has faced enormous disruption as the COVID-19 pandemic has led many state and local authorities to order the closure of restaurants, except for takeout and delivery, which leaves sports fans without a place to congregate. Plus, the cancellation of sporting events and seasons that traditionally have been a focal point for its marketing campaigns are eating into its success this spring. The chain in March had to cancel a planned Airbnb-style sleepover inside its restaurant in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood around March Madness, which was also canceled.
In this new environment, Buffalo Wild Wings has worked to cultivate a sense of virtual camaraderie by urging fans to share videos of trick shots and other antics with its social media accounts. By hosting a game of H-O-R-S-E on Twitch, the restaurant chain aims to connect with customers who are looking for other kinds of sports-related programming in the absence of live games, after the coronavirus outbreak led sports leagues to suspend their seasons.
The effort may help to keep its brand top of mind among a target customer group of young adult men. About 80% of Twitch's audience is male, with 55% in the 18- to 34-year-old demographic that's desirable for advertisers, per Mediakix data. Before the pandemic disrupted professional sports, Amazon-owned Twitch was working to expand its sports programming with a three-year deal to show National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) games. Twitch is forecast to boost its regular viewership 14% to 37.5 million this year and reach about 16% of the U.S. audience for digital video, according to researcher eMarketer.