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Twitter signs NHL, MLB streaming deal

Twitter has announced it will live stream weekly out-of-market games from Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Hockey League (NHL). 120 Sports, the OTT network, will also produce an exclusive, nightly multi-sports highlights show called The Rally, the first show of its kind to be streamed live on Twitter. The MLB, NHL, and 120 Sports streaming rights come through Twitter’s new partnership with MLBAM.

“Twitter is the fastest way to see what’s unfolding in MLB and the NHL,” said Anthony Noto, Twitter’s chief financial officer. “MLBAM has pioneered streaming live digital video and we could not be more excited to partner with them on live games as well as The Rally, giving our audience the live sports events they are already talking about on one screen on Twitter.”

“Twitter has long been a great partner and platform for both baseball and hockey fans as they follow their favourite teams and players every day,” said Kenny Gersh, MLBAM’s executive vice president, business. “We know fans will embrace what this wide-ranging partnership brings – expanded and reliable access to live baseball and hockey and the introduction of Twitter’s first daily live highlight show delivered intuitively to a platform where they’re actively engaged with the games.”

“Twitter has become a crucial forum and engagement tool for hockey fans to enhance their NHL viewing experience and stay connected to the game on and off the ice,” said Stephen McArdle, NHL executive vice president of digital media and strategic planning.  “We are excited that fans will now be able to enjoy live NHL games through our partnership with Twitter.”

The once-per-week live streams of out-of-market MLB and NHL games will be available free to logged-in and logged-out Twitter users in the US. MLB games also will be available worldwide, except in select international territories. A schedule for the MLB and NHL games will be available at a later date.

Noting the deals, Dror Ginzberg, Co-Founder & CEO of  video creation platform Wochit said: “2016 is a momentous moment in sport broadcasting and the deals made this year will have a long lasting impact on sports fans for decades to come. The broadcasting rulebook is being ripped up in front of our eyes as cash-rich technology companies finally compete to broadcast live sports in a new way through their social platforms.”

“The agreement between Twitter and the MLB and NHL builds upon the company’s existing deal with the NFL which was signed earlier this year. The company has already provided an insight into what a live sports experience would look like, thanks to itsbroadcast of Wimbledon a few weeks ago.”

“Twitter really is a natural fit for these sports, as 50 per cent of all the platform’s TV conversations are focused on sports, meaning there’s already a captive audience and live broadcasts will only add to a deeper involvement for sports fans. Consumers also almost exclusively watch sports live, with 95 per cent of total sports programme viewing happening in real time, Twitter will become a natural extension of this experience for fans.”

“Expect to see the worth of global sports rights explode past its current total of £16 billion as sports increasingly look to social media platforms to become co-broadcasters with TV companies. In future, it might even put companies like Twitter on a possible path to outright rights holdings, and leading traditional broadcasters might face decline if they don’t respond.”

 

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