Twitter going deeper with ESPN

The leading sports TV network plans to embed a wide variety of highlight clips in its tweets shortly after they happen live, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
2 min read

If you like sports highlights but spend more time on social networks than watching TV, Twitter and ESPN are going to do their best to meet your needs.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Twitter and ESPN plan to announce tomorrow a deepening of their existing relationship, agreeing on a pact under which the leading sports channel will unveil a wide variety of highlight clips in its tweets. The videos would be available on Twitter "shortly after" they take place live.

Naturally, the new arrangement -- which expands on a pact signed in December under which ESPN began embedding replays of college football highlights into its tweets -- is all about ad revenue. The sports network will place ads inside the clips, and advertisers will agree to purchase a minimum number of promoted tweets related to the highlights, the Wall Street Journal reported. Sports covered under the deal include World Cup soccer and X Games tournaments, according to the Journal.

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the Journal's story, and this afternoon, several people in senior roles at the social-networking giant posted tweets linking to it. Adam Bain, Twitter's head of revenue, went so far as to note in his tweet, "More news from the upfronts," referring to the TV network meetings with advertisers that are taking place this week.

The Twitter-ESPN agreement goes a long way to bolstering the theory that Twitter is moving quickly to strengthen its ties to TV networks. Last month, a Bloomberg report suggested that Twitter was in talks with NBC and Viacom about bringing more of those networks' content to the tweets users see -- all in the hopes of boosting ad revenue.

And earlier today, the Journal also noted that Twitter and Fox agreed to bring some of that TV network's video to users via the tweets they see. As with the ESPN relationship, the Fox pact would be built to leverage advertisers' ability to reach users.