Keep on streaming – how Twitch can find its place in sports marketing
Reading time: 3 minutes
The thought of watching others play video games may sound quite unconvential to some, however it is a trend, that has been gaining more and more popularity in recent days. Over the last three years, especially during the pandemic, the live streaming platform has gained so much popularity, that there are now over two million people watching Twitch streams live at any given point.
Twitch is increasingly becoming an integral part within sports through game day warm-up as well as its coverage. The possibilities that the platform hold for rightsholders and brands to reach fans should not be underestimated as can be seen by cases in the NBA and La liga.
Watching other people play FIFA 22, League of Legends or Fortnite? It may sound a little strange to some, but it’s actually pretty popular on the live streaming platform Twitch. There are over 30 million active users per day, with an average of around 2.5 million people watching a stream at any given time. More than 7 million streamers are active each month, and they’re not only streaming themselves playing video games. The share of non-gaming content has quadrupled in the last three years, especially in the music and sports categories. “The variety of different content available on Twitch is what makes this platform so special. It’s a different form of entertainment compared to what’s currently offered. Users can easily decide for themselves what and who they like”, says Moritz Scholz, Manager Esports at SPORTFIVE.
Who's on Twitch?
daily active users
are between 16 and 34 years old
of all users are male
The audience on Twitch is young – 71% of the community is between 16 and 34 years old. Men predominate, only 35% of the users are female. Above all, they have a desire for honest and dynamic content. Due to the direct interaction possible on Twitch, there’s a special closeness between the community and the streamers – who therefore appear more authentic and open. As a result, fans are more open to advertising collaborations, which plays into the hands of brands that want to advertise on Twitch. The platform offers an excellent opportunity to reach this young generation that has grown up with social media because they are hardly found on the classic platforms such as TV or print.
"Twitch is the market leader when it comes to live streaming and therefore it’s important to have your own channel on there to reach your target group directly."
Moritz Scholz, Manager Esports SPORTFIVE
Rights holders and their partners have also discovered Twitch. The NBA for example launched a campaign called “That’s Game” for its playoffs in 2021 and partnered with eight streamers. The content creators talked about their history with the NBA and basketball itself in their streams – and this caught the attention of fans. More than 17 million minutes of video content were watched by a total of 4.2 million viewers, who engaged in lively conversations. More than 66,000 comments and messages were shared in the chats during the streams. Partners of the NBA such as delivery service DoorDash and American Express sponsored live broadcasts and raffled prizes among the viewers.
Of course, European football is also on the popular streaming platform, because “Twitch is the market leader when it comes to live streaming and therefore it’s important to have your own channel on there to reach your target group directly”, says Moritz Scholz. The possibility to reach one’s own fans or even new ones with the content are manifold.
While the Spanish La Liga streams the warm-up of teams before top matches or offers an alternative commentary with detailed analyses by the streamers, German Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund shows matches of their women’s team on their Twitch channel, talks to guests about the tactics of the men’s team and also puts a clear focus on their eFootball team. For example, ahead of the Champions League match against Ajax Amsterdam, BVB’s e-athletes competed against two of Ajax’ Esports team in a FIFA 22 match to prepare fans for the upcoming game.
Generally spoken, the one-size fits all approach doesn’t work on Twitch. “You have to get to the core of who the target group actually is and what exactly they want before you place any advertising there”, says Moritz Scholz. For brands and companies, it’s especially important to get acquainted with this new medium. Content that has already been produced must not simply be recycled, but new, interactive formats should be developed. The platform thrives on exchange and interaction, which has to be stimulated by new content. “It’s not enough to simply throw in a classic ad, you should always try to create added value – for the fans and also for the streamers”, says Scholz.
Twitch itself continues to expand its connection to sport. In February 2021, the platform signed a contract with the basketball world federation FIBA, which stipulates that round about 600 hours are to be streamed live, but also gives fans and creators the opportunity to use official videos for their own content.