Not every fan was able to make it to the Super Bowl LIV in Miami. However, spectators watching at home still got a chance to share in the Kansas City Chiefs’ triumph post-game.
The NFL, in partnership with Twitter, printed fan and player tweets on tens-of-thousands of pieces of confetti that fell on the field at Hard Rock Stadium – some in real-time while the game’s outcome was still in the balance.
The tweets selected were a compilation of social media posts leading up to the game, real-time game reactions by fans, and player tweets shared before ever playing in the NFL – including a tweet from Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes as a high school senior.
The promotion is part of the NFL’s strategy to work with its digital partners to find new and innovative ways that help fans communicatie their love of football.
“From what I’ve seen, our engagement numbers are much higher than last year across all platforms, including Twitter,” Ian Trombetta, senior vice president of social and influencer marketing at the NFL, said. “The Super Bowl continues to be a cultural moment in the U.S. that drives a lot of conversation, not just during the game but during halftime and pregame.”
The 2019 season once again proved that fans have a big appetite for the sport. Television audiences for the year rose 5% overall, bringing in an average of 16.5 million viewers for media partners on game day. The league also accounted for all but three of the top 50 most-watched programs on television.
From a personal engagement standpoint, the NFL is also trending in the right direction, said Trombetta, who joined the league a year ago.
“Engagement with women and youth is up, as is the league’s overall fan base,” he said. “So those are also positive contributors to the overall health of the brand.”
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The NFL approached Twitter with the idea of printing tweets on Super Bowl confetti two months ago, intent on showcasing personal stories told by fans and NFL players on the social media site.
The concept quickly went viral, according to David Herman, partner manager at Twitter and in charge of the company’s U.S. sports partnerships.
“We wanted people talking about it, and I think we saw the excitement from users whose tweets were featured on confetti,” Herman said. “Fans that could not be in the stadium were given a chance to become a part of history.”
Twitter is still working to finalize metrics related to the joint Super Bowl activation with the NFL. Numbers are expected to be finalized in the coming days.
Twitter’s partnership with the NFL dates back seven years. Fans are now accustomed to finding NFL-related content – including game highlights and videos on demand – on Twitter, Herman said.
The social media platform also rolled out a series of live studio shows in collaboration with the NFL ahead of this season’s Thanksgiving Day games, the conference championship playoff round, and the NFL Honors awards ceremony.
“We want to show that if you are an NFL fan and are not on Twitter, you are missing out,” Herman said. “Everything we do with the NFL is to create an ecosystem where everyone can regularly engage with league content.”
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The NFL’s next major opportunity to engage with fans will come at the NFL Draft this spring in Las Vegas. The league has taken the tentpole event on the road each year since 2015 after hosting the NFL draft in New York City for decades.
Last year’s NFL Draft in Nashville was watched by 43 million people, Trombetta said. There are now plenty of opportunities for the NFL to again stir up conversation with fans, as it coincides with the Raiders’ move into the city.
“Las Vegas allows us to do more from a social perspective by introducing more musicians and performances,” he said, adding that the league will also focus planned activities around some of Las Vegas’s biggest tourist attractions.
“By regularly moving the draft across the country, we can tell more stories that impact social engagement in a great way,” Trombetta said. “We can showcase those cities in ways that you can’t if you are in one location year after year.”