Twitter may have a live streaming deal for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football games, but only now can fans truly share the triumphs and disappointments of their favorite teams on the microblogging platform, thanks to Twitter’s introduction of that indispensable symbol – the emoji.
With the start of the pro football season, Twitter unveiled an emoji, with accompanying dedicated hashtag, for each of the 32 NFL franchises across the country, covering both the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference. That means fans can show their team pride (or perhaps take some potshots at the opposing team) with team symbols as part of emoji sentences.
Some of the hashtag slogans and catchphrases are well known, for example “#GoBills” for the Buffalo Bills, or “#BeRedSeeRed,” for the Arizona Cardinals. However others are a bit of an education for anyone not already familiar with a particular team: thus I had no idea that the name of the Cincinnati Bengals’ tiger mascot is “#WhoDey,” while “#KeepPounding” is an obscure Carolina Panthers reference from 2004, “#WeAre12” is pretty mystifying to anyone outside the Seattle Seahawks fan base, and it took a minute to figure out “#ForTheShoe” referred to the Indianapolis Colts.
The launch of the custom team emojis comes as Twitter tries to boost engagement with live content in key categories including live sporting events.
As noted, earlier this year Twitter won the digital rights to NFL games on Thursday Night, with plans to stream ten Thursday Night football games while they are simultaneously being shown on NBC, CBS and the NFL. And this summer Twitter also launched its first a live stream of ESPN’s coverage of Wimbledon.Under the terms of Twitter’s arrangement with the NFL, marketers have access to inventory including both pre-roll and in-stream video ads on clips running after the live programming.