Last month American Sports Network, Campus Insiders, and 120 Sports announced a mega media merger which we expected to be a huge boon for Group of Five coverage. This week that has come to fruition as those three companies have formed to create a network called STADIUM. Starting this fall, STADIUM will air C-USA games through Twitter.
Per a press release, STADIUM will be live-streamed 24/7 with original programming.
A new, original, fully programmed, 24/7 linear experience will stream live on Twitter in the coming months. This network will integrate exclusive live collegiate sporting events, extensive highlights, classic games, and daily live studio programming. Combining the production quality and editorial values of TV with the speed, accessibility, conversation, and interactivity of Twitter, STADIUM infuses real-time, fan sentiment and feedback into every sports conversation, covering the topics that matter most to sports fans as they happen.
The new Twitter video platform will also include sports programming from the WNBA, MLB, the PGA Tour, and the Players’ Tribune. Twitter will offer video programming in news and entertainment, including exclusive content from our parent company Vox Media. All of this content will be available 24/7, free of charge.
This is great news for C-USA fans. Over the past few years finding games has been difficult. Coverage has mainly been relegated to conferenceusa.tv and the quality of the service have been shoddy at best due to schools not having the infrastructure to pull off even standard-definition broadcasts.
After receiving a major blow in TV revenue after the 2015-16 season with conference members seeing their share drop from $15.4 million to $2.8 million, it was clear C-USA needed to take a more creative approach in getting their games out to potential viewers.
I’d say ditching TV streaming in favor of producing content on a social media service checks the creative box. To see C-USA become one of the first NCAA conferences to fully embrace a streaming model on Twitter shows that they were aware of their lack of outreach to sports fans and are now proactively doing something about it.
While the details are vague at this point, Twitter’s press release teased the potential of integrating Twitter interaction with the video content.
Earlier this year the Pac-12 Network streamed their baseball games on Twitter and featured the Twitter interaction next to their video. Here’s what it looked like.
A live tweeting component that brings fans together to chat about the programming that they’re watching would be awesome. Imagine being able to pull all of your Twitter buddies’ live tweets of the Shula Bowl or 100 Miles of Hate directly onto your live stream while you watch the game unfold. It’s an interesting possibility that more closely mirrors how people are ingesting media in 2017.
Many believe C-USA suffers due to a lack of geographical rivals. Twitter could potentially be a bridge that helps bring together a conference full of fans that are largely splintered off due to geography. The above integration could go a long way in bridging that gap, helping C-USA fans become more familiar with other fan bases within the conference.
STADIUM’s deal with C-USA has now opened a door that the Sun Belt and Mountain West should look into. The other three G5 conferences have struggled with exposure, unlike the AAC and MAC. With C-USA now on Twitter, we could potentially see other conferences broadcasting games on our timelines very soon.