On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams speak with Kelsey Bowers, a senior manager of U.S. sports partnerships at Twitter. The trio discuss Twitter’s highly coveted blue check marks, the ubiquitous “second screen,” and the future of sports fandom.
Twitter partners with sports teams and leagues around the world, deals that can range from short-form highlights to live broadcasts and alternative streams. Bowers, who oversees Twitter’s relationships with the NBA, WNBA, U.S. Open and NBC Sports, discusses the framework of those deals, and how they drive revenue both for Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) and the rights holder.
They also discuss how NBA stars have built an especially large platform on social media. LeBron James has more than 50 million Twitter followers, while the Los Angeles Lakers have about 10 million, a ratio rarely seen in other sports. Bowers says part of that is the structure of the sport–NBA rosters are smaller, and players don’t wear helmets–but it’s also a reflection of the way NBA stars have been able to connect with fans across the globe.
Bowers, who previously worked on the NFL’s media strategy team, also talks about what she learned while working at the world’s richest sports league, and how her job has changed now that she’s on the other side of the negotiating table.