As Twitter "continues its fight against Amazon" in the U.S. for sports viewership figures after losing its NFL livestreaming rights, it is "hoping to get a head start in Asia Pacific" as the e-commerce company "only entered the region in the middle" of '17, according to Shawn Lim of THE DRUM. Twitter has been "in a rush to ramp up its live content sports partnerships in APAC" with the NBA, Fox Sports Asia, Riot Games, Melbourne Cup and Eleven Sports. Having livestreamed the Melbourne Cup for a second consecutive year, Twitter claimed it saw an audience of 1.6 million unique users watching the content globally, and that the event "trended on its platform in 12 countries around the world." Twitter believes that sports properties are "keen to partner with the platform over the likes of Amazon and Facebook for live content because of its value proposition of being the platform for what is happening and what people are talking right now in the moment," according to Twitter Global Dir of Sports Partnerships Laura Froelich. Stressing that Twitter is "keen to ensure" that the content it carries appeals to APAC audiences, Froelich highlighted that one of the first sponsorships that Twitter sold for NBA programming this year was in the Philippines, and revealed that the NBA is also "creating a show for the platform in India." It also partnered with the NBA to "sell sponsorship to Nike in the Philippines." Twitter is "in conversation with existing FIFA World Cup and Olympics broadcasters," which are also partners, "to explore what kind of things they can do together and what kind of content to bring to viewers" (THE DRUM, 12/13).
WWE reached an agreement with Facebook to develop a new in-ring competition, the Mixed Match Challenge, that will stream live exclusively on the social media platform beginning Jan. 16. The weekly series, airing on Tuesday nights for 12 weeks in 20-minute episodes, involves a mixed tag-team pro wrestling tournament specifically created for the Facebook Watch video service. Facebook paid an undisclosed rights fee for the content and will lead ad sales for the venture, which extends an accelerating interest in acquiring exclusive rights to sports and entertainment content. The deal also builds upon an active Facebook community that WWE operates with nearly 38 million followers. WWE intends to promote the Mixed Match Challenge across its TV, digital and social platforms.
Portuguese side Benfica extended its distribution deal with telecom Nos "for the team's Primeira Liga games to be shown on the club's in-house pay-TV channel," BTV, until the end of the '18-19 season. Nos has held the rights to Benfica's games since the '16-17 season (SOCCEREX, 12/12).
Modern Times Group acquired the exclusive Nordic media rights to Futsal Euro 2018. All games from the tournament, which will take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, from Jan. 30-Feb. 10, "will be available live on MTG's Nordic video streaming service," Viaplay, in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, with selected matches shown on TV3 Sport in Denmark and Sweden (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 12/13).