In this growing mobile-technology world, it is wise to think of how people, particularly those recruits in high school, can view a product on the screen of their cell phone as opposed to a 65-inch high-definition TV.
If recruiting is paramount for coaches, then making sure games are available free, easy and live through Facebook, Twitter or YouTube should become part of the marketing strategy. The thought process for college administrators should not be only about television packages with any of the major networks, but also about how a school or conference can be presented on an iPhone or Android device. People want information and interaction with others immediately, and they usually turn to social media to fulfill that desire. The best way to observe or become involved for today’s society and beyond is to take out the cell phone and scroll through what they want to read or view.
That’s the world we live in and that kind of interaction figures to grow with sports entities such as the NFL becoming more involved with live streaming of 10 Thursday night games this season.
The Atlantic-10 announced recently what it called a “groundbreaking move” in which it will become the first league to deliver a package of regular season men’s college basketball games via Facebook Live. The league will distribute between 10 to 15 live games on that platform this season. Games will appear within Facebook’s News Feed and on the A-10’s Facebook Page.
“Working with Facebook is an innovative opportunity to take advantage of new technology,” Atlantic-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade said. “This unique and creative partnership with Facebook allows us to expand our reach as a conference, further our presence globally and bring A-10 basketball to an even wider audience.”
The conference is the second to announce it will stream live some of its sports, although the Atlantic-10 is boldly offering one of the revenue-making sports in this venture.
The Pac-12 announced in July that it will partner with Twitter to live stream this school year 150 events of its Olympic sports: Soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, ice hockey, swimming & diving, softball, track & field, wrestling, lacrosse, tennis, and water polo.
Gone are the days when such events go unnoticed by the public, especially by a recruit who can now see how he or she could fit into a program with more regularity. Moreover, with the live streaming of Olympic sports on Twitter, Pac-12 coaches have an advantage of making a recruit know their parents and families can watch them compete on their mobile devices.
It won’t take long for other conferences to realize the recruiting benefits and follow suit.
In terms of the revenue producing sports – men’s basketball and football – the advantages are there for recruiting purposes to stream games live on Facebook Live or Twitter for recruiting purposes. Nothing tops exposure.
Of course, the big money is on the TV contracts with NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN and Fox Sports, but those networks can stream games live on their own or incorporate Twitter and Facebook Live with the help of sponsors such as what the NFL has done with Twitter.
It’s best for all involved to realize this news of the Atlantic 10 streaming men’s basketball games on Facebook Live is just the beginning. The easier, less costly access to watch games holding a hand-held device is becoming more popular than watching it on a big-screen HD TV in which you must be home or stationary.
For now, the use of Facebook Live and Twitter is an advantage in the recruiting wars for Atlantic 10 schools in men’s basketball (especially against other non-Power 5 schools) and Pac-12 in Olympic sports until it becomes the norm for all conferences.
Javier Morales has worked as a sports journalist for more than 25 years. He reported for The Arizona Daily Star for 13 years. He was the Star’s beat reporter for the Arizona men’s basketball program when the Wildcats won the national title in 1996-97. A 2010 Arizona Press Club award winner, Morales operates the blog site AllSportsTucson.com.