Twitter Tests Live-Streaming Sports with Wimbledon Coverage

Twitter is live-streaming tennis tournament Wimbledon, finally giving viewers the chance to see what live-streamed sports look like on the platform. The company earlier this year paid NFL $10 million for the rights to stream some Thursday Night Football games but, up until now, no one had any idea what that would actually look like. Beginning on Wednesday, Wimbledon’s official Twitter account began tweeting the live feed, with the video stream at the top of a “Live” page, with scrollable tweets listed below.

Recode reports that “pairing the Twitter conversation around a sporting event directly with the livestream itself has been Twitter’s pitch for why it should stream these kind of events versus other tech companies like Amazon or Verizon.”

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It’s not clear, however, whether the format used to live-stream the Wimbledon matches will be the same as what Twitter plans to use later on for the Thursday Night Football games. According to a Twitter spokesperson, the Wimbledon live-stream is an “extremely early and incomplete test experience.” Recode notes that NFL Thursday Night games drew “twice as many viewers as the Wimbledon men’s final did in 2015,” so it’s probably a good idea Twitter is using Wimbledon to test out its approach, which Recode dubs “as basic as it gets.”

Although the financial arrangement for the NFL games is known — Twitter will sell ads — the company “declined to comment” on the specifics of its deal with Wimbledon. Since 2011, ESPN has had exclusive TV rights for the tennis tournament so, assumes Recode, “Twitter worked with both Wimbledon and ESPN to make this happen.”

That jibes with what Twitter chief financial officer Anthony Noto told Recode in April: “We’re not just talking to the leagues, we’re also talking to the broadcast partners of the leagues and the cable network partners of the leagues.”

Related:
Twitter Started its Live Coverage of Wimbledon Today, TechCrunch, 7/6/16