In early April, the NFL and Twitter announced that 10 Thursday evening games would be live streamed on Twitter. Twitter was a bidder among Verizon, Yahoo!, and Amazon, and despite having other bids exceed their price point, Twitter won the rights.
Both the NFL and Twitter seem to understand the need to cater to the desires of their customers. They WANT to give fans the best experience possible, and if the NFL is willing to turn down the highest bidder to do so, then it’s apparent that they are looking to win the long game. And of the bidders out there, I think they made the right choice. The speed and openness of the dialog on Twitter is what I think makes it so attractive. Twitter allows you to grow the number of conversations you would have had with the fan who’s seat would be next to you. Gary Vaynerchuk often refers to it as the “water cooler” of social media. Anyone can join, give their opinion, and the visibility and speed of the conversation is a crucial part of that.
Twitter has the chance with the NFL to really boost its brand, which has often been criticized for not being able to grow it’s active user base. As I’ve thought through how I’d like my game experience to go, here are some things I think should be part of the stream to enhance the experience.
People in today’s modern world have a tough time being told how to do something, and so I think that Twitter should options when it comes to how users view the broadcast.
For example, it looks like other sites are going to be able to embed the stream onto their own site, meaning that there will be an option for a full screen video feed (I’d hope). There are likely going to be a lot of users that don’t have Twitter right now, or that hardly use their account at all, that want to stream the game solely for the purpose of watching it. Anything added onto the screen, or perhaps taking screen space from the game itself, would prove frustrating for those people.
I’m also hoping there might be an option for a full screen view, with a small hover icon somewhere that would allow me to send Tweets. In this mode there wouldn’t be any sort of feed, just a way to compose tweets, perhaps similar to the way the Chrome Hangouts app works. That way the screen would only be minimally covered when I want to send out a message, and that’s it (See the bottom right of the image). I would enjoy this view.
Of course, what I imagine will likely happen, is that if you view the game within the platform, you will have the stream of the game, along with a place to both compose your tweets and then see a feed of some kind. My hope is that the feed is customizable. I would imagine that Twitter will create a curated feed of the top tweets around the game, but I’m more interested in the interactions with fans that I’ve followed, added to lists, or hashtags of the game or teams. At the end of the day, as long as it is customizable, I’m happy with it.
These are the basic configurations of the experience I’m hoping to see in some way. I imagine that at least the first and third option will be available, the second might be too much to ask.
Whatever happens, this is an experiment we should all be excited about.
What kind of Twitter experience would you like to have during the game?