Groundbreaking New Agreement Between ATP and Buzzer
The appeal of bite-size content, especially for younger consumers, has been clear for some time now. First, there was Vine, which was a sensation during its brief existence as a means of sharing self-made content. Then came Instagram Reels, with Facebook adapting a similar format of short videos, with TikTok not far behind.
These platforms focus on content that was quick, flashy, and highly produced. In the world of sports, they were ideal for the best highlights, as well as short, funny, behind the scenes moments showing favorite athletes. But while they have shown a path to massive growth, especially as TikTok appears far from slowing down its meteoric rise, the ability of this sort of content to engage in real time has been necessarily somewhat limited.
While YouTube has made major inroads in streaming events live, these other sorts of platforms are yet to stake their claim in that regard. However, a platform launched relatively recently, Buzzer, is aiming to change that. Buzzer was founded by Bo Han, whose previous experience included a stint at Twitter out of what he felt was a need to merge social media and the ability to watch sports live.
A new model
The company’s model is an intriguing one — users can make a small payment — between $1-3 to tune in to events in progress, although the fee is waived if the user already has a subscription that allows them to watch the event in question, like NBA’s League Pass, for example.
“We find that the current marketplaces crowded with subscription products,” Han said. “Consumers are fatigued by subscription products. And the last thing we want to do is compete with all the other subscription products out there and further fragment the media rights landscape.”
The NBA, a competition for which social media, specifically Twitter, is incredibly important, has been the main driver of Buzzer’s success to date, but they have also worked with entities including the PGA Tour and NHL. The WNBA and DAZN, home of the Women’s Champions League among other competitions, are also partners, but last week’s Rolex Paris Masters saw the start of a partnership with the ATP, the men’s professional tennis circuit.
A unified platform
In the United States, tennis is one of the most fragmented sports in terms of subscriptions. Each of the various majors are carried by different entities, and even then, qualifying or early-round matches may be carried by still other broadcasters, potentially making following a favorite player difficult. This deal will connect fans of the sport with each of the tour’s 1000, 500 and 250-level events, covering not only the sport’s four majors but also high-level tournaments in the US, such as Indian Wells, or the Western Open.
It’s an especially auspicious partnership for the US, as men’s tennis seems to be undergoing a sea change with Roger Federer’s retirement and the rise of a new generation of American stars, including Frances Tiafoe, Jenson Brooksby, Taylor Fritz and Brandon Nakashima. These younger players have already done plenty to catch the attention of their peers, and this deal with Buzzer can do even more.
“This partnership with such an exciting and innovative platform represents another step towards better understanding and serving our fans,” said Mark Webster, Head of Media for the ATP. “Buzzer has a young and engaged user base and we look forward to seeing how Buzzer will continue to grow its unique offerings in the U.S. and beyond.”
Thus, as is the case for the young American players breaking new ground with their talent, Buzzer’s partnership with the ATP is one brimming with paradigm-shifting potential.