ESPN & Twitter Set to Ignite Brands Around Sports Events

By Community | May 15, 2012

Twitter and ESPN have agreed a partnership looking to cash in on the sky-high volume of tweets about sports on TV by creating custom campaigns for brands around events like the World Series and the Super Bowl.

The two companies are announcing the first program, called GameFace, at ESPN’s upfront Tuesday morning. GameFace will center around the NBA Finals and be promoted on Twitter with the #GameFace hashtag. The social-TV dimension calls for the hashtag and program to be promoted on-screen during ABC’s live broadcasts of the NBA Finals, as well as on ESPN’s “NBA Tonight” show.

The goal of this initial campaign is to get fans to tweet photos of their best “game face” accompanied by the dedicated hashtag. At the end of each game of the finals, “NBA Tonight” studio analysts will display some of the top contest photographs on air. Some photos will also get exposure at ESPN.com/NBA.

Twitter and ESPN will be co-selling the campaign — which includes promoted tweets and trends, as well as plugs on ESPN, ABC and ESPN.com — as a single package for each potential sponsor. It’s the first time Twitter has collaborated with a TV network to build custom sponsorship packages around major events.

Twitter and ESPN said it is too early to describe exactly how a brand will be integrated, since they have not sold the first deal. At a minimum, the GameFace sponsor’s brand will displayed within the onscreen promotion of the contest on ABC, most likely within a lower-third graphic. The sponsor’s brand is also expected to be tied into the Twitter page housing the GameFace photo entries. The companies declined to discuss pricing.