Snapchat wants those advertising dollars, and what do people like? Sport, of course.
On Monday, it announced a partnership with the Australian Football League (AFL).
Snapchat will cover games during the 2017 men’s season, including the grand final match, as part of the app’s “Our Story” feature that compiles snaps from viewers, players and the league itself. Each team’s home stadium will also get a unique Geofilter for fans.
The company already covered the 2016 AFL grand final and a 2017 season preview as part of “Our Story” features, as well as covering the AFL Women’s League Opener in February.
“These partnerships ensure the Australian sports fan can engage with content relevant to their interests and see a side of their favourite leagues and tournaments like never before, thanks to the mix of ‘inside access’ as well as fan-submitted Snaps that make up an ‘Our Story,'” a spokesperson said.
More than 7 million people globally watched Snapchat’s Australian Open coverage.
The deal may also help the platform expand its audience. Currently, it’s dominated by 18-to-24-year-olds in Australia, but older demographics might be reeled in by the chance to see football stars like Buddy Franklin at training.
Content and social media manager for analyst site Social Media Today, Andrew Hutchinson, said it was “a big deal” for Snapchat to sign up a local code on the scale of the AFL.
He suggested the company would be able to monetise by selling ad packages against the coverage. “Snapchat’s keen to get into this market quickly,” he said. “It’s about getting extra ad revenue.”
While many big brands are advertising on Snapchat locally, it doesn’t yet have the penetration of the U.S. market, he explained, where the company has partnered with the NFL and other leagues. Nevertheless, there’s “huge buzz” around the platform, despite concerns the ads don’t always deliver.
“The general industry feedback overall is you can get better results from Instagram and Facebook,” Hutchinson said. “[Verification of ad results] is definitely something that their coming under more pressure to deliver — especially if they’re going to set up big deals like this.”
Snap Inc. opened an Australian office in Sydney in 2016 with sales, operations and partnerships employees. Sport hasn’t been the only focus: The app has featured live stories from events such as the Splendour in the Grass music festival.
It’s also signed on with Tennis Australia. In January, “Our Stories” shared content from the Australian Open, including the Women’s and Men’s Finals with talent such as Venus and Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
More than 7 million people globally watched the tournament on Snapchat, their spokesperson said, as well as almost 500,000 Australians.
Snap Inc. listed on the New York Stock Exchange in early March as part of a much-debated IPO. Doubts about the company’s longterm health has mainly centred on its slowing user growth — apparently throttled, in part, by Facebook and Instagram’s endless copying of Snapchat’s key features.
To survive, the company needs to convince users it’s a unique offering. Snapchat clearly thinks AFL players in short shorts is a winning recipe, and it may be onto something.