WNBA expands partnership with Twitter, signs new multi-year deal

On Wednesday, the WNBA announced an extension to its existing partnership with social media platform Twitter. The renewed deal includes streaming rights to 12 regular season games, including the Seattle Storm and Minnesota Lynx season opener, as well as expanded Twitter-specific content, including weekly broadcasts on Twitter Spaces. Terms were not disclosed, but The following learned that the 2021 deal between the WNBA and Twitter netted the league $250,000.

The WNBA struck its first deal with Twitter in 2017 alongside a slew of other new age media deals, including a deal with the mostly defunct music streaming platform TIDAL. The WNBA was the first women’s professional sports league to officially partner with Twitter, which has since partnered with the National Women’s Hockey League. Since the first Twitter live stream of a WNBA game had over 1.1 million views, 60% of which came from outside the United States, Twitter has become a key part of the engagement strategy. WNBA fans.

The main league account, @WNBA, has grown steadily in recent years, adding nearly 200,000 followers since May 2018. On October 8, Twitter Sports launched an ad specifically highlighting the online community that has formed around the WNBA, # WNBATwitter. The ad has garnered 21.2 million views to date, and #WNBATwitter has since become an official Twitter hashflag. Several others team-specific hashflags were created for fans to use throughout the 2022 season.

Although the WNBA has not made viewership data for the 2018-2021 seasons publicly available, Twitter’s free WNBA game streams averaged 613,000 unique viewers in 2017. Three of the 20 games on offer peaked to 1.1 million viewers. For context, in 2016, 10 Thursday Night NFL games broadcast on Twitter averaged 3.5 million viewers.


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This season’s offerings will expand on what was on offer last year: 12 regular season games will be streamed live via the official WNBA Twitter account with the associated hashtag #WNBATwitterLive. In previous years, each game’s Twitter feed included live fan tweet overlays, polls, and Q&A opportunities with commentators. The WNBA also plans to feature highlight videos via Twitter for its major schedule events, including Commissioners Cup games, the All-Star Game and all post-season games.

The following regular season games will be streamed live on Twitter:

Date Game Time (ET)
Friday, March 6 Minnesota Lynx at Seattle Storm (CC) 10:00 p.m.
Friday May 13 Indiana Fever at the New York Liberty (CC) 20:00
Friday May 20 Washington Mystics at Atlanta Dream (CC) 7:30 p.m.
Friday May 27 Los Angeles shines at Indiana Fever 7:00 p.m.
Friday, June 3 New York Liberty at Washington Mystics (CC) 7:00 p.m.
friday june 10 Chicago Sky in Connecticut Sunshine (CC) 7:00 p.m.
friday june 17 Phoenix Mercury at Dallas Wings (CC) 20:00
Thursday June 30 Atlanta Dream at New York Liberty (CC) 7:00 p.m.
Thursday July 7 Storm from Seattle to Los Angeles Sparks (CC) 10:30 p.m.
Thursday July 14 Dallas Wings vs. Minnesota Lynx 20:00
Thursday July 28 Minnesota Lynx in Atlanta Dream 7:00 p.m.
Thursday August 11 Connecticut Sun at Los Angeles Sparks 10:30 p.m.
Commissioners Cup matches are marked with a “(CC)”

Additionally, the WNBA’s Twitter Spaces show will return. This time around, fans can look forward to a weekly live, audio-only broadcast hosted by Ari Chambers and Monica McNutt. The show will feature game previews and recaps, interviews with current and former players, and other relevant stories and features.

Notably, the WNBA makes all content produced in partnership with Twitter available for advertising by brands that are part of Twitter’s Amplify program. On the evening of May 4, Twitter executives and senior directors pitched Digital Content NewFronts, a three-day event for digital media companies to showcase their key content plans, especially digital video, to advertisers. The renewal of its partnership with the WNBA again made its appearance in the presentation of the platform.

This comes at a time when the digital marketing landscape is facing major changes. Apple’s Identification System for Advertisers (IDFA) has long been used to track and record user data. Third parties, such as Facebook’s advertising program, collect and sell this demographic and behavioral data to brands who use it to optimize targeted advertising campaigns. Since the release of iOS 14, however, Apple has rolled out an easily accessible opt-out option for IDFA sharing, in an effort to protect consumer privacy. For companies like Meta, Facebook’s parent company, whose data profiles relied heavily on access to IDFA data, this resulted in nearly $10 billion in lost revenue as well as trust with advertisers. This seismic shift to the list of advertiser-friendly media platforms has opened the door for others, like Twitter, to put their content where Facebook’s once was.

While billionaire Elon Musk’s recent purchase of Twitter has also been a consideration for advertisers (Musk paid $0 to advertise Tesla and has long opposed advertising on Twitter), stable partnerships and long standing with organizations like the WNBA are invaluable to the platform. Since ads began appearing alongside videos of hate speech and violence on YouTube in 2017, advertisers have been more reluctant to sell ads on platforms with a history of harmful content. Twitter’s 6-year contract with an exceptionally diverse, politically active, but still family-oriented league with a rather young fanbase is a bright spot for skeptical brands.

Other recent media deals the league has struck include handing over exclusive international streaming rights to 17 games, including the first game of the Commissioners’ Cup, to Amazon. 30 Seattle Storm games will also be available to Prime Video users in Washington State. WNBA games can also be found streaming on Facebook Watch and NBA TV, as well as traditional TV broadcasters ESPN and CBS.

As the league heads toward a new media rights deal by mid-decade, a diverse portfolio of long-standing digital streaming deals, like the one it struck with Twitter, could give the WNBA the momentum it needs to secure the financial turnaround the league and its players need to thrive.

Howard Megdal contributed reporting for this article.

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