Twitch and small sports federations, a beautiful story of mutually beneficial communication

Often associated with gamesTwitch platform is not limited fans video games. If YouTubers, journalists and politicians have invested in it, the platform is also the heyday of small sports federations. This is especially true for the NHL, the National Handball League, which began cooperation with the platform in October 2021, or the French Basketball Federation, which is working on a project to broadcast 3×3 competitions.

Have they found their Eldorado? According to sports economist Pierre Rondo, Twitch perfectly condenses the new consumer habits of a young audience: “They are less and less fond of sports on TV, preferring multi-screens that are democratized. They browse social media indiscriminately on their computer, phone, and tablet, often at the same time. And the main advantage of Twitch is interaction.

Twitch, special role

Originally reserved for esports and gamers, Twitch is a platform with very specific codes “that take a little time to get,” admits Noemi Catalan, public relations manager for the NHL, explaining how French handball landed on Twitch. “In November 2020, after several months of self-isolation during which we prioritized digital technology to keep in touch with fans and players, we launched an esports competition based on the Handball 21 console game called the E-handball Cup. They were players from professional clubs, young people already very sensitive to video games. The competition went on for four consecutive Mondays and the NHL made sure to surround itself with an experienced team: Team MCES, a French esports club based in Marseille with professional teams in Fortnite, League of Legends and Clash of Clans games.

The same entry on the FFBB side: “It is thanks to esports that we got to Twitch,” notes Guillaume Carly, head of communications for 3×3 and esports at the basketball federation. Both directly reveal the current challenge: to put the traditional sport on the platform. And if basketball is still working on its project, the little ball that sticks is one step ahead. Since January, she has hosted two weekly shows, mobilized a team of six, and overseen the community. spectators is constantly increasing. For the NHL, this partnership is “completely beneficial”: “We don’t want to do television, we don’t have the funds. But this is another way to showcase our sport and encourage clubs to immortalize projects through this channel that are interesting and remain on the human scale,” explains Noemi Catalan. “It’s a way to combat the slowdown in audience growth in the media. main stream, and capture new generations,” says Pierre Rondo.

Entertainment takes off

In handball, as in basketball, the authorities rely on a combination of match sequences. inside and “sofa studio” in good taste speaking : “In fact, the goal is for the experts to comment on some of the images of the competition, as well as additional materials,” explains Guillaume Carly. “During the live broadcast of the League Cup Final 4 at 7:30, we were indoors, in a small area with technical equipment, and saw how the players passed by immediately after the match. We also stream parts of the matches thanks to an agreement with BeIn Sport, which we regularly quote on the Twitch stream. The coverage was complete and our broadcaster was thrilled because it also captured a great audience,” says the NHL public relations manager.

“3×3 is a free and flexible discipline that is easier to access and quickly learns,” sums up Guillaume Carly. What could be more effective to sum up the purpose of Twitch? “3×3 and Twitch are definitely compatible as they target the same generation that gets tired quickly and may see regularity as a limitation.” Enough to enhance the sporty side of the rhinestones and glitter. Modeled after an NBA or NFL show, live esports like on Twitch leaves plenty of room for spectacle.

The desire of small federations is media rather than economic.

Opportunity to also stand out? “Today, young people’s dislike of traditional sports is a structural and generational problem,” analyzes Pierre Rondo. The glut of free and paid offerings has created an elusive audience, with so many to choose from that they can afford to run the show. “By investing in Twitch, already recognized by these connected youth who love video games, handball, volleyball and basketball, they are working to increase their popularity and visibility,” adds the sports economist. “At the moment we are not thinking about monetization,” admits Noemi Catalan, communications manager for the NHL. Our goal is to reach a young, new audience by offering quality content and proximity to fans who already follow us.”

For Guillaume Carly, Twitch is a new form of sports media coverage that complements existing ones: “On Twitch, we touch the heart of our community, whereas with TV, we target as many people as possible. We do not offer the same programs or the same subjects. We strive for complementarity.”