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Twitter signs a live-streaming deal to bring Pac-12 university sports to its service

TechCrunch TechCrunch 14/07/2016 Sarah Perez

Twitter’s quest to become a live-streaming service continues this morning with another announcement of a new partnership that will bring live events to its social network. This time, Twitter and Pac-12 Networks are teaming up to stream more than 150 university sporting events during the 2016-2017 season, the companies said.

The news follows similar deals Twitter has made with the NFL to stream Thursday Night Football this fallWimbledonCBSN, to live stream convention coverage; and Bloomberg, for financial news. The company is also reportedly in talks with the NBA, MLS and cable giant Turner.

According to Pac-12 Networks, Twitter will be its premier streaming partner for “Pac-12 Plus,” a broadband network of live events produced by the conference’s 12 universities. This will include at least 150 games, however, the final roster has not yet been determined. Bu, Pac-12 says that it will include Olympic sports such as soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, ice hockey, swimming and diving, softball, track and field, wrestling, lacrosse, tennis, and water polo.

The events will also continue be streamed on university official athletic sites and Pac-12.com, in addition to Twitter. In other words, Twitter is not the exclusive home to the live streams. But it will expand their reach – especially given that they’re not available on DirecTV, as Bleacher Report points out.

“Twitter is the fastest way to find out what is happening in live sports,” said Anthony Noto, Twitter CFO in a statement. “Our partnership with the Pac-12 Networks will give sports fans a great way to view live sporting events along with the live Twitter conversation they are already accustomed to.”

With a growing number of streaming partnerships under its belt, it’s clear that Twitter is trying to transition its service from being known only a place to have conversations – it’s actually moving to give users something to comment on.

This ties in well to one of Twitter’s more popular use cases: being the second screen that accompanies whatever someone is viewing on TV. Twitter in the past has tried to tap into this behavior by highlighting trending TV shows in its mobile application. But now that the cord-cutting era is upon us, Twitter aiming to position itself as both the first and the second screen by offering both the video itself and the platform to discuss the streamed content.

That being said, it’s still too early to know how much this will impact Twitter’s ability to grow its user base or its revenue. But at least it seems to be more of step in the right direction than its wonky, curated “Moments” feature.

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