#Storyteller: Sports Innovation With Twitter’s TJ Adeshola

“If it makes the group chat, it’s something we’re talking about,” said TJ Adeshola, Head of U.S. Sports Partnerships at Twitter. “Ideally in addition to helping our partners generate sponsorship revenue, which is a huge priority for us, we really prioritize innovation.”

TJ leads all U.S. Sports Partnerships at Twitter, and he is responsible for helping Twitter’s sports partners answer the question “how do we leverage the power of Twitter to achieve our business objectives?”. He advises sports properties who look to Twitter to reach new audiences, monetize their video content, and innovate.

Recognized as an authority on digital sports media, with appearances on ESPN, NBA TV, CNBC, NFL Network, and the Wall Street Journal, TJ joined the virtual #Storyteller Livestream Experience stage to bring stories of innovation in the sports world to life. 


On the inception of the #ShowtimeCam:

“We had a brain trust at the beginning of the year, and the idea was quite simple. What can we do that’s disruptive, but it’s fun, and injects swag, and adds to the game day experience on social? They [NFL] had done something similar around the Pro Bowl the prior season, so they tested it and it was a huge hit with the players. So when they came to us and said, we’re thinking about rolling this out over the regular season, myself and my team were like, all right, how did we get involved? How do we do this? And once the name Showtime cam popped up, we were like, this is it. It’s gonna catch on.”


On Twitter’s approach to the sports stoppage:

“We created an internal huddle called a project roar. And the intent was all right, if there’s no fans in the stadium, Twitter, the timeline can still serve as the roar of the crowd.  So we called it project roar and immediately there was outreach to our partners like, look, we know you’re still brainstorming. We are here to assist. We’re here to be a resource.

As a function of those conversations, courtside tweets popped up and, and #FreeBaseball with MLB and #NHLWarmups. Just a ton of innovation was birthed as a function of chaos; as a function of a new normal of sports. I’m incredibly proud of the entire sports landscape.”


On the MLB #FreeBaseball campaign:

“Some of the baseballs, you could actually see that game marks. You can see the dirt on it. You can see like they were actually used. So that became a really special moment for fans.

Our objective was if fans can’t consume these games the same way that we’ve all been accustomed to consuming sports in the past, how can we connect them? How can we bridge that gap? How can we give them a piece of the game that they wouldn’t be able to get otherwise?”


Advice to sports professionals:

“I would encourage all of you, amazing super sports professionals and practitioners, do work that inspires you. If it starts to get mundane, if it starts to feel a little dull, challenge yourself, challenge your team. What can we do that we maybe haven’t done before? What can we do that we’ve tried, but it wasn’t as good as it can be?”


On the strength of Twitter Sports communities:

“We call Twitter a global sports bar for a reason because there are people that are cheering for the same team and they high-five each other. And they build community together. There are people that are talking smack to each other, and then there are athletes who engage in that conversation as well. So it’s just this really comprehensive full-scale experience where you got journalists, fans, players, teams, leagues, all jumping into the conversation more often than not in real time too. So the community does what it does. Our job is to equip them with the tools to take it to the next level, to elevate that conversation, to pour a little kerosene on it, to make it go crazy.”


On what Twitter Sports is looking to do in the future:

“One of the things that you’ll see us continue to lean into are these fan delight moments, and participatory engagement. So instead of just smacking live parts onto Twitter, how can we do like we do with #WNBATwitterLive or #NBATwitterLive, and actually incorporate the community? The folks who exist within the timelines, tweeting about these properties in the show, so it’s not just the linear feed popping up to Twitter. It’s the folks that you tweet with each and every day hosting the play-by-play commentary of those live game moments on Twitter. So being a bit more participatory and creating experiences, consumption experiences for fans that feel more unique and bespoke to them.”


Click here to see more from the #Storyteller Livestream Experience including conversations with WWE’s VP of Production & Strategy, Nate Loucks, MLB SVP of Marketing, Barbara McHugh, FOX Sports VP of Digital Content, Michael Bucklin, Apple Music’s Head of Content, Larry Jackson, and more!


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