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Full streams ahead for Twitter as it strikes Pac-12 live university sports deal

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Twitter has evidently prioritized its live-streaming strategy. Having formerly announced a historic broadcasting deal with the NFL, it is now adding another sports-oriented partner to its live video roster.

Pac-12 Networks today announced that Twitter will live-stream its university sports events during the 2016-17 season, totalling 150 games. Among the sports broadcasts expected to make it on to the social network are baseball, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, ice hockey, track and field, wrestling, lacrosse, and water polo.

“Twitter is the fastest way to find out what is happening in live sports,” said Anthony Noto, Twitter’s chief financial officer. “Our partnership with the Pac-12 Networks will give sports fans a great way to view live sporting events along with the live Twitter conversation they are already accustomed to.”

Despite receiving premier streaming status as part of the deal, Twitter does not have the exclusive rights to the live broadcasts, which will also be available on the Pac-12 website, and on official university websites.

The partnership falls in line with Twitter’s focus on live sports streaming, which it is reportedly seeking to expand upon by pursuing deals with the NBA, MLS, and cable network Turner.

Earlier this month, Twitter tested its first sports live-stream with footage from the Wimbledon tennis championships. The trial run gave viewers an indication of the format of live-streams on a platform that, until now, has served as a second screen during sports events.

As real-time broadcasts proliferate on Twitter, all eyes will undoubtedly be on the impact they have on its user numbers. The company’s CEO Jack Dorsey is convinced that Twitter’s live experience is its biggest strength, but persuading traditional cable viewers (and cord-cutters) to treat the service as a primary screen could turn out to be a tough sell.

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