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Oh, Snap(chat): Helping Millennials Engage with the Olympics

1 Jun, 2016

By: Tracey Schelmetic
NBC Forms Partnerships with Social Media Companies in Advance of Summer Games

Sports marketers are having to learn a new language – the language of Millennial Americans – if they are to survive. The biggest upcoming test will be that of the Summer Olympic Games in Rio. NBC has traditionally been loath to share content with other media outlets, but with viewership of younger watchers at stake, the network has begun forming partnerships with social media platforms.

According to Gavin O’Malley of Media Post, Snapchat recently inked a partnership with NBC to show highlights from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio via their messaging and photo sharing network. The distribution deal is a first for NBC, but more are likely to come. NBC is rumored to be in similar deals with Facebook.

“The deal should help NBC harness Snapchat’s young and highly engaged audience, as well as sell more advertising,” wrote O’Malley. “NBC will sell any ads that accompany the highlights, and split some of the revenue with Snapchat.”

Snapchat, for its part, is not new to traditional media partnerships or sports marketing. The social media company already has partnerships with Major League Baseball and the NFL, which allow it to stream exclusive behind-the-scenes video rather than game footage. Snapchat isn’t new to partnerships with NBC: this year, the social media company worked with the network to bring to viewers live coverage of the Kentucky Derby.

The one social media partnership that may not be hammered out in time for the Summer Olympics, however, is one with Twitter, which would likely hold out to be able to stream video from the games, something that NBC appears not yet ready to share.

“The coming Olympics in Rio is shaping up to be the most social games ever, new research suggests,” wrote O’Malley. “As has historically been the case, however, young consumers will do most of the sharing.”

When it comes to sports, research has found that Millennial Americans don’t feel the same way as older generations. Interest in sports is actually down among Millennials, and their interest has changed from simply watching sports passively to actively engaging with other fans – either at home or at stadiums – and even interacting with their favorite teams. Networks are counting on this type of interaction to create a bond with the Games, even on another continent.

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