Twitter is getting ready to join an Olympic relay that it hopes will help it gain ground on Facebook.
The microblogging site is partnering with NBCUniversal to help corral the millions of tweets expected to be sent during the Games in London by athletes, fans, and NBC TV personalities onto a single Twitter page, according to a Wall Street Journal report. NBC will promote the Web site on-air with links to athlete interviews and videos as part of the partnership, expected to be announced as early as tomorrow, the Journal said.
Twitter executives hope the company's participation will help it attract a larger audience to its microblogging service, which currently has about 140 million monthly users -- putting it third behind LinkedIn's 150 million and way behind Facebook's 900 million.
"This is a way for new users to sample Twitter," Chloe Sladden, Twitter's vice president of media, told the Journal.
It's also a chance for the San Francisco-based company to prove it can make some serious money. Research firm estimated in January that Twitter would generate $259.9 million in ad revenue this year, but that is still a distant second behind the $5.78 billion in ad revenue Facebook is expected to generate.
General Electric and Procter & Gamble are reportedly among the big brands buying ads on Twitter to tout their association with the Olympics but NBCUniversal told the Journal it would not be getting a share of Twitter's ad revenue. Twitter declined to estimate how much revenue it expects to generate from the Olympics.
"Twitter is positioning itself for strong growth over the next few years," eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson said in a statement in January. However, "to achieve a trajectory similar to Google and Facebook, Twitter still needs a proven, turn-key ad platform and a significantly bigger user base to deliver the reach advertisers demand."
CNET has contacted Twitter for more information and will update this report when we learn more.