- Twitter, the blogging network that reported 4% growth to 330 million users in Q3 2017, this week is streaming a video sports series that focuses on high-school basketball recruits. Sports-drink brand Gatorade sponsors the show, called “#TheDebut” that will stream high-school matchups from Jan. 19 to Feb. 23, per Digiday.
- Gatorade worked with digital ad agency VML, producer Intersport and Twitter to develop and distribute the show, which will feature Gatorade products visible on the sidelines. TV and YouTube personality Rachel Demita will cover the games with help from former NBA players Nate Robinson and Baron Davis.
- Kenny Mitchell, head of consumer engagement for Gatorade, said Twitter will publicize the series with promoted tweets aimed at basketball fans. Twitter’s global audience can see the tweets in their feeds, and find them on Gatorade’s Twitter handle and at live.twitter.com/TheDebut.
Gatorade is experimenting with sponsoring live-streamed events to build brand awareness and consumer engagement, per Digiday. The brand is under siege in regions such as Seattle that have slapped a soda tax on its products.
Live sports programming is a good fit for Twitter, whose emphasis on immediacy makes the platform popular among sports fans who share commentary with each other as they watch games. Twitter has steadily developed more live-streaming video content with media companies such as Bloomberg and BuzzFeed, and showed National Football League games during the 2016-17 season, although Amazon outbid Twitter for rights to stream Thursday Night Football games during the 2017-18 regular season. Despite being outbid, Twitter has found ways to beef up its sports-related programming to be the go-to place for streaming video, clips, news and commentary that appeals to fans.
Gatorade is the latest brand to work with Twitter on sponsored events. Nike live streamed a marathon last May, while Converse sponsored a branded video series called “Public Access” on Twitter during the back-to-school season. In addition, Twitter last year announced more than a dozen new live streaming content deals, including partnerships with the NFL (separate from the Amazon streaming deal), Women’s National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball, per Geekwire.