Twitter created emojis for this year’s NFL draft, which begins tonight at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Fans who put the hashtag #NFLDraft in their tweets will see a newly created emoji automatically added to their post, per Adweek.
Twitter will add team helmet emojis to tweets that correspond with each player who is picked in the first round. That means if the Cleveland Browns pick a quarterback like Sam Darnold, a Browns logo emoji will appear in any tweet that’s hashtagged with his name, #SamDarnold.
Twitter also conducted a mock draft on its social platform based on how many times players were mentioned in tweets discussing specific teams and the NFL Draft. The mock draft concluded that the Cleveland Browns will pick Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen as the No. 1 overall selection.
Twitter’s new emoji campaign and mock draft capitalizes on its real-time coverage combined with the growing popularity of watching the NFL Draft and football games on nontraditional platforms. The NFL’s @NFLDraft Twitter account has 185,000 followers. During the live draft, fans can tweet about their favorite players and teams as they anxiously await each new draft pick.
For this year's draft, 27 corporate sponsors will market to fans at AT&T Stadium, seven more than last year, per Sports Business Daily. More than 400,000 fans registered to attend the draft inside the stadium through the NFL Draft Fan Mobile Pass app, and about 20,000 seats will be available each day.
Twitter has aligned its platform with NFL programming over the past few years, starting with a 2013 agreement to show game highlights, near-instant replays and analysis in promoted tweets. The social network won the rights to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games during the 2016-17 regular season.
The company is not the only one vying for an expanded partnership with the football league. Last year, Amazon outbid the social network for the rights to stream 10 games during the 2017-18 regular season. The NFL hasn't yet announced the streaming rights for Thursday Night Football schedule, but Fox’s deal to broadcast the games lets the network stream games to Fox subscribers on various digital platforms. Amazon, YouTube, Twitter and Verizon are also bidding for streaming rights to Thursday night games, per Variety.
The NFL last week published the schedule for all 256 games of the 2018-19 regular season, which begins on Thursday, Sept. 6, when the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons for a rematch of the divisional round playoff game. The upcoming NFL schedule’s streaming rights are divided among a variety of technology, telecom and media companies. Verizon in December signed a new multi-year agreement with the NFL that allows other mobile carriers to stream games on the Yahoo Sports, Verizon go90 and NFL Mobile apps. NBCUniversal will broadcast and stream Sunday Night Football, while ESPN will handle the same duties for Monday Night Football.