The Social Super Bowl: Live Sports, Streaming, and the Battle for Attention

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on February 8, 2024

In today’s bite-sized content landscape, shaped by platforms like TikTok with its sub-minute videos, it’s a struggle to capture and hold audience interest. Yet, amidst this shifting trend, one beacon of real-time engagement shines bright: live sports. This is why Paramount+, with its upcoming Super Bowl broadcast, is betting big on sports to drive subscribers. 

Their bet isn’t singular. Just yesterday, ESPN, Fox, and Warner announced their intention to partner on a sports streaming solution, further solidifying live sports as a central issue in the streaming wars.

Why Live Sports? The Dwindling Attention Span and the Rise of Live

It’s no secret that attention spans are waning. Blame it on information overload or the dopamine rush of quick content, but capturing sustained attention is a challenge for traditional entertainment formats. 

Live sports defy this trend. The unpredictable nature of competition, the shared experience of cheering alongside millions, and the constant anticipation of the next play create a unique environment where real-time engagement thrives. Unlike scripted content, viewers can’t skip ahead or scroll through their phones – they’re locked in, glued to the unfolding drama.

The Road Ahead: Live Sports + Social

“Where streaming platforms can gain ground in the competition for market share is in marrying their sports broadcast with a social-out creative strategy,” says Charles Ifegwu, the Managing Director of global social creative agency THE FIFTH.

Ifegwu will be joining Super Bowl festivities to host an anticipated Brand Innovators panel on Thursday in Las Vegas, featuring Paramount+ senior marketing leaders, to talk about the role of live sports and social media in attracting coveted online subscriptions.

“We know that real-time conversations around pivotal game moments live in digital communities. Streamers like Paramount+ are smart to be intentional about fostering these cultural touchpoints that far outlast game day, and transport audiences into owned ecosystems.”

The Synergy of Live and Social: Why it Matters

This marriage between live streaming and social creative holds immense potential:

  • Amplifying Engagement: Social media allows for real-time reactions, discussions, and memes to erupt alongside the live action. This creates a participatory experience, fostering a sense of community and amplifying the excitement of the game. 
  • Reaching the Unreachable: Social media platforms are where younger audiences congregate. By creating engaging content tailored to these platforms, streamers can tap into a demographic traditionally challenging to reach through traditional broadcast advertising.
  • Breaking Down Barriers: Social media breaks down geographical limitations, allowing even those without Paramount+ subscriptions to experience the buzz and excitement surrounding the Super Bowl. This creates a powerful FOMO effect, potentially driving subscription signups or encouraging viewership through alternative means.

The Challenge Lies in Execution

While the potential is undeniable, executing this strategy effectively requires careful planning and understanding of the target audience. 

“Creating social content that resonates with younger demographics who crave authenticity and authenticity will be crucial,” says Ifegwu. 

Engaging influencers, creating shareable memes, and utilizing platforms like TikTok’s trending sounds and features will be key to enhancing the audience experience.

The Super Bowl as a Test Case: Shaping the Future of Sports Streaming

This year’s Super Bowl could have far-reaching implications for the future of live sports streaming. If platforms can effectively leverage social media to engage younger audiences in a multi-screen experience, it could become a blueprint for other platforms vying for a piece of the lucrative sports broadcasting pie. More importantly, it could enhance the way we consume sports in the age of dwindling attention spans, proving that live, unscripted experiences hold the power to capture our hearts and minds, even in a world of fleeting online interactions.

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Spencer Hulse is the Editorial Director at Grit Daily. He is responsible for overseeing other editors and writers, day-to-day operations, and covering breaking news.

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