The first campaign #GameFace, promoted around the NBA finals, will invite viewers to tweet their ‘game face’ throughout the NBA final. At the end of each game, NBA analysts will reveal the best photographs on-air. A campaign that brings the offline Kiss Cam of the Lakers basketball games to the online.
ESPN have also emphasised that they will be using a promotional platform to engage fans.
“We know fans use ESPN and Twitter as their main source for content and connectivity. By taking that scale and combining it with the passion of sports fans, this program answers the value equation of social media while providing a new way for fans to engage with ESPN”
Ed Erhardt, president, ESPN Global Customer Marketing and Sales
As this article points out, ESPN has rightly acknowledged that Twitter is ‘better at giving users an online identity than its own commenting system.’ Their strategy is to capitalise on the content being created on Twitter instead of encouraging conversations on sport specific forums. This makes perfect sense as it's about bringing the conversation around their offering (the sports games) to the customer. There's also the peer factor - people are more interested in expressing their opinions about sports to followers (made up of friends and fellow fans) than anonymous commenter’s in a forum.
Twitter is a fantastic platform for debate; this is evidenced by the volume of conversations around recent big news events e.g. The Leveson Enquiry. Sporting similarly ignites passionate opinions in people - again evidenced by football matches regularly trending on Twitter. It will be interesting to see if British sports channels follow suit and more closely align themselves with Twitter in offering a platform for discussion.