X Pitches Advertisers On The Big 3

As X continues to embody a “video-first” content strategy, the microblogging platform is trying to pitch advertisers on its exclusive content deal with the Big 3, a three-on-three basketball league for retired NBA players that streams live in the app and on CBS and Paramount Plus during the NBA off-season.

“During the 2022-2023 season, the BIG3 averaged 515,000 live viewers per game on CBS,” X said in a recent statement. “In-person attendance broke BIG3 records with an average of 15,000 attendees per week.”

X contends that these numbers -- paired with the league’s fast-paced game play and roster of famous players and coaches -- can help advertisers integrate their brand into a specific audience. According to the company, 90% of in-person attendees of the Big 3 are Black and Hispanic.



As the leading social-media platform for breaking news, especially in sports, X has seen a recent spike in excitement surrounding basketball -- specifically related to the WNBA, which is up 500% in conversation compared to the previous season thanks to new stars like the Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (it should be noted that X has misspelled Clark’s name in its statement) and the Chicago Sky’s Angel Reece

While the Big 3 is a niche sports league, it was watched more regularly than Premier League Soccer, WNBA and Premier Lacrosse League games in the US last year, according to data from The Source. Since rapper and actor Ice Cube founded the league in 2017, it has been honored by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and gained the attention from celebrities like rapper 50 cent.

The league's 2024 season started on June 15. X will host over 25 games live in its virtual stadium where users can discuss the game in real-time. This “live sports package” will also provide in-app viewers with weekly preview and highlight shows and exclusive access to players, coaches, and celebrities via video clips that X wants advertisers to embed into their pre-roll ads.X announced its partnership with the Big 3 in February, around the same time the company began citing internal data around the app’s video engagement: posts including video drove 10x the engagement among users, with 80% of user sessions currently including video consumption

However, when it comes to exclusive streaming, X may not be the most reliable platform to invest ad dollars in.

Some of X’s exclusive video partnerships have not gone as planned, like ex-CNN host Don Lemon’s X-based news program, which X owner Elon Musk canceled hours after Lemon interviewed him for the first episode, stating that the program “lacked authenticity.”

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