The first thing that comes to mind when the words twitter and facebook are said? “social media”, not “broadcast channels”. But that’s the direction it’s headed. Companies are no longer satisfied being where they are. Everybody wants a piece of the most profitable cake. The sports industry is one of the most lucrative industries to be a part of and twitter and facebook want to be involved big time. Facebook already streams LaLiga (Spain’s premier soccer league) games live on its platform for free in India. To people asking how they can make money from this, I say look at this as an investment for the long term. The main aim right now is to establish themselves as players in the sports broadcasting field. The initial goal is to be as visible as possible. Facebook has 270 million LaLiga fans. That’s 270 million potential viewers and traffic to their website. Unlike the traditional broadcasters, Facebook will be streaming the games for free. Peter Hutton (head of global live sports programming at Facebook) may not say it outright, but the intentions are clear. Facebook want to dominate this industry as well. Their failed bid to acquire rights for the Indian Premier League further strengthens this notion.

Twitter are also looking to shake things up as well. Adidas partnered with Twitter to launch “Friday Night Stripes (FNS)”. This is the first time that high school football (American) games series will be streamed (on Twitter). This is a brilliant move. A big chunk of the users on twitter are high schoolers and creating an entertaining and engaging event is only a good thing. Twitter is not just a social media platform, it’s a source for updates and news on various topics. Also, having a sporting giant like Adidas will only attract more attention.

The traditional media outlets need a serious revamp in terms of structure, reach and method of delivery. They need to catch up and keep progressing or they are in serious danger of being left behind. BT Sports do it to an extent, they stream UEFA Champions League games on their YouTube page and that gets viewers who may not be around a TV at that time.  As someone who is very active on social media and is really busy the entire day, moves like Facebook-LaLiga are ideal. Make no mistake, companies do not make moves just because it’s good for the viewers/society. Their ultimate goal is revenue generation. The tech giants are recognising an area where there is serious potential and are going all in. It’s moves like these that not only brings them more viewers, but also eats into the numbers of traditional broadcasters. This is a very interesting time for sports enthusiasts and business enthusiasts and such competition can only make the landscape a better place for the viewers and users. Watch out TV networks, dominating the broadcasting industry ain’t that easy anymore.

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