Twitch and small sports federations, the beautiful story of win-win communication


Often associated play a gameThe Twitch platform is not limited to these. enthusiasts video games. If invested by youtubers, journalists and politicians, the platform is also the golden age of small sports federations. This is especially true for the NHL, the National Handball League that started a partnership with the platform in October 2021, or the French basketball federation working on a project to broadcast 3×3 matches.

Have they found their El Dorado? According to sports economics expert Pierre Rondeau, Twitch sums up the new consumption habits of young viewers perfectly: “They love sports less and less on TV, they prefer democratized multi-screens. They indiscriminately turn to social networks on their computers, phones and tablets, often at the same time. Twitch’s main advantage, too, is interaction.

Twitch, a special role

Explaining how French handball landed on Twitch, NHL communications manager Noémie Catalan admits that Twitch, which was originally reserved for esports and gamers, is a platform with very specific codes that “take some time to get them.” “In November 2020, after months of shutdown where we preferred digital to stay in touch with fans and players, we launched an esports competition based on the Handball 21 console game, called the E-Handball Cup. Players were from professional clubs, young men were already very sensitive to video games The match took place on four consecutive Mondays, and the NHL has taken care to surround itself with a veteran team: the MCES team, the Marseille-based French esports club, professional teams specifically in Fortnite games, League of Legends and Clash of Clans.

Same entry on the FFBB side: “We got into Twitch through esports,” says Guillaume Karli, head of communications for 3×3 and esports at the basketball federation. Both make clear the current challenge: placing traditional sport on the platform. And if basketball is still working on his project, the sticky little ball is one step ahead. It has held two weeks of demonstrations since January, mobilizing a team of six and observing a community. viewers constantly increasing. For the NHL, this partnership is “in the best interest of all”: “We don’t want to do TV, we don’t have the means. But this is another way to show our sport and encourage clubs to take on through this channel of communication, to pursue projects that are engaging and remain on a human scale,” says Noémie Catalan. “One way to combat slowdown in media audiences mainstream, and catching new generations”, profusely Pierre Rondeau.

the fun begins

For handball, as in basketball, officials bet on a mix between match sequences. inside and “sofa studio” flavor to talk : “The goal is to have experts who really comment, some images and extras from the competitions”, explains Guillaume Karli. “We were in the room at 07:30 during the live broadcast of the League Cup Final 4, we were in a small set with technical facilities and we saw the players pass right after the match. Thanks to the agreement we made with BeIn Sport, which we regularly quote on Twitch broadcast, we also broadcast parts of the matches. The broadcast is complete and our broadcaster He was very pleased because he also recorded great audiences,” says NHL communications manager.

Guillaume Karli sums it up, “3×3 is a free and flexible, easy-to-access and fast-consuming discipline.” What could be more effective to sum up the Twitch goal? “Because 3×3 and Twitch are targeting the same generation, they are definitely compatible, tiresome, and able to see the regularity of appointments as a constraint”. Enough to reinforce the rhinestone and sparkly side of the sport. In the model of NBA or NFL shows, esports events, live as on Twitch, leave a lot of room for the show.

Media desire rather than economic for small federations

Also the opportunity to stand out? Pierre Rondeau analyzes that “Youth’s dissatisfaction with traditional sports today is a structural and generational problem”. The plethora of free and paid offerings are hard to catch, with the selection so wide that it has created an audience that can dominate the roost. “They are working on their popularity and visibility by investing in Twitch, which is already liked by this connected youth who is very fond of video games, handball, volleyball and basketball,” the sports economist adds. “We’re not looking to monetize for the time being, but also relies on Noémie Catalan, head of communications at the NHL. Our goal is to reach a young, new audience while delivering quality content and intimacy with fans who already follow us,” he said.

For Guillaume Karli, Twitch is a new form of sports media coverage and complements existing ones: “At Twitch, we aim for the most audience while touching the heart of our community. We don’t offer the same shows or the same topics. We aim for complementarity,” he said.