Social networks are the new playing field in the world of sports

·4-min read
Clubhouse and Snapchat have announced partnerships with the American National Football League.

The world of sports is betting heavily on social networks. In the United States and in France, community platforms are eagerly announcing the conclusion of new partnerships with the world's most popular sports leagues. The NBA, the NFL and the French national soccer championship, the Ligue 1, are among the organizations venturing onto social networks to reach out to fans who would have attended live games were it not for the covid-19 pandemic.

The health crisis has prevented sports fans from heading to stadiums to watch the exploits of their favorite teams. As a result of the pandemic, games played before empty bleachers without crowd noise or banners became the norm in 2020. To compensate for their absence, fans have taken to social networks to share their reactions. In 2020, some two billion sports-themed messages were posted on Twitter . Not surprisingly then the NFL's Super Bowl LIV, the Champions League final and the NBA Finals Game 6 were among the most discussed subjects on the social network last year.

Exclusive live content

Along with the social networks themselves, sports leagues are planning on taking advantage of this upsurge in messaging to encourage fans' interest in sporting events. Ahead of today's debut of the 2021 NFL draft in the United States, both Clubhouse and Snapchat announced partnerships with the championship. According to the Clubhouse press release, the US National Football League will be providing exclusive content on the fashionable audio-only application, with athletes, coaches and network personalities taking the floor, and answering live questions from Clubhouse users. The new partnership is the biggest deal yet to be signed by the application, which has been copied by Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Snapchat hopes to become a fan zone

In contrast to Clubhouse, which is audio-only and only accessible via invitation, one of the social networks most favored by Generation Z will be providing football fans with AR Filters, Lenses and Cameos, short looping videos into which users can insert their faces. This is the sixth year in a row that the NFL has partnered with Snapchat , and the social network is once again determined to take advantage of one of the most popular events in the United States. "To celebrate the 2021 Draft, we're developing an innovative AR experience that will feature all 32 official NFL teams with music by popular artist and NFL Draft night 3 performer, Machine Gun Kelly," announced Snapchat.

According to a survey conducted by the social network, 64% of Snapchatters agree that using AR or filters makes the draft more enjoyable. During the 2020 draft, more than 80 million Snapchatters engaged with AR in the United States and Canada, which amounts to a vast market for the NFL.

Reddit catches a bounce

American football is not the only sport to unleash the clamor of fans. With 3.9 million members in its NBA subreddit, Reddit has now become a major playing field for the world of basketball. As part of a new partnership, users of the social network will be able to directly pose their questions to star players during "Ask Me Anything" sessions. Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics has already been presented on the community platform and Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers will be next.

Along with question-and-answer sessions, Reddit will also be sharing key moments from NBA matches, as well as highlights from games in the WNBA, the women's professional basketball league. With the partnership, Reddit is pushing ahead with a strategy to become one of the most popular social networks by collaborating with one of the most widely watched championships in the United States.

The French Ligue 1 is already on TikTok

In France, soccer fever has spread to TikTok . The fashionable social network has now launched a partnership with the French championship to offer supporters "an immersive digital experience at the heart of the Uber Eats Ligue 1." Users of the platform will have access to highlights and behind-the-scenes footage of players arriving at matches, dressing-room discussions, training sessions, and pre-match pep talks.

With the hashtags #BendItLike and #PenaltyGame, users have been encouraged to take up the challenge of reproducing their favorite goals or goalkeeping saves. A third challenge and a live event will also be organized for the end of May. Last but not least, TikTokers will be able to test their knowledge with a Wednesday "Super Quizz" and to compete for a 2,000 euro prize for the most accurate fixture predictions.

Sabrina Alili