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Snapchat may have started as a relatively simple messaging app, but as the world’s fastest-growing social media platform continues to expand its capabilities—Snapchat Discover, for instance, allows brands and publishers to share editorialized content—big brands are now advertising on Snapchat in an effort to reach millions of teenage and millennial users. To capture the attention of audiences who no longer consume news and entertainment via network television, major U.S. sports leagues like the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB) are embracing Snapchat as a way to keep fans engaged and provide genuine value to followers in the form of exclusive and/or behind-the-scenes content.
60% of all 13- to 34-year-olds in the United States are now Snapchat users (according to Snapchat’s advertising statistics), making advertising on Snapchat an ideal way for sports leagues and professional sports teams to reach and authentically engage with generations of young fans. In a recent International Business Times report, the NBA’s senior vice president of digital media Melissa Rosenthal Brenner emphasized this point, calling the app a “direct conduit into a highly engaged younger audience.”
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For brands and sports teams alike, Snapchat’s genuine, “in-the-moment” functionality—especially through Snapchat Stories—can be used to drum up publicity and create buzz for an exciting event. To generate user engagement and boost brand awareness during this year’s NBA playoffs, for example, the league’s Story features exclusive behind-the-scenes content like player warm-up routines and intimate encounters with the NBA’s biggest stars.
Like the NBA, Major Lague Baseball is investing heavily in Snapchat advertising to reach social media users where they now spend an average of 30 minutes each day (The Verge). As part of a new multi-year agreement between Snapchat and the MLB, Snapchat will provide fans exclusive access to baseball games and events like Spring Training, Opening Day, and the MLB All-Star Game, as well as behind-the-scenes content featuring the game’s top players (Forbes).
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Snapchat is helping Major League Baseball reach young audiences, as well. According to Digiday, the average age of an MLB fan is 55, the oldest of the all the major professional sports leagues in the United States. Because Snapchat is adept at engaging young users, advertising on Snapchat could help revitalize baseball and bring young audiences back to ballparks across the country.