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Social media moves in sport

Wimbledon may be seen by some as a beacon of tradition in sport but The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club has shown it is at the forefront of innovation amongst major sports rights holders by reportedly signing a multi-year deal with photo messaging app, Snapchat. Under the new tie up, Snapchat looks set to create stories about Wimbledon and sell adverts to sponsors. Snapchat claims that roughly 16m, one-third of all UK smartphone users, use its app each month. The world’s leading tennis tournament seems to see Snapchat as a key way to reach a much younger demographic which is less inclined to sit down and watch traditional TV coverage. The new deal looks to build on the success of the tournament’s 2015 social media campaign, which reached over 9m users and won industry plaudits.

The Snapchat initiative follows other recent significant moves by social media platforms in sport, including Twitter’s acquisition of rights to stream live video coverage of some NFL American Football matches for the forthcoming 2016/2017 season for a reported US$10m. Twitter will probably package the games alongside a live feed of tweets and stream all of it on its website and mobile app. Other web sites may be allowed to embed Twitter’s live stream, which would enable Twitter and the NFL to reach a bigger digital audience.

The deals emphasise the need for sports rights holders actively to consider social media platforms as part of their rights exploitation strategy for video coverage and other content.