×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NCAA March Madness: Twitter to Live-Stream Final Four Weekend ‘Watch Parties’

Social service hosts real-time tweet hub for 2018 men's college basketball championship

What’s the next best thing to live-streaming actual 2018 NCAA March Madness Final Four games? For Twitter, it’s hosting a live video and chat hub with video commentary and real-time tweets for hoops fans to follow during the men’s college basketball championship.

Twitter, in partnership with Turner Sports, the NCAA and CBS Sports, on Saturday is tipping off the 2018 NCAA March Madness Men’s Final Four weekend with the launch of Final Four Watch Parties. The “live social-viewing experience” on Twitter, comprising analyst commentary, reactions and highlights from the games, will be produced by Turner Sports from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Of course, what Twitter would really love is to have live-streaming rights to the NCAA March Madness contests. Those belong to Turner and CBS, who are paying a bundle for them.

TBS is broadcasting Saturday’s semifinals and the April 2 National Championship. The games will be available through the Turner-operated NCAA March Madness Live service, including the NCAA’s website and 16 device platforms, available to subscribers of participating pay-TV providers.

However, the Final Four Watch Parties are an example of Twitter is able to monetize major events even if it doesn’t have broadcast rights: The Twitter “second-screen” feed is exclusively sponsored by burger chain Wendy’s.

The March Madness Final Four Watch Parties will stream live on Twitter starting Saturday, March 31, at 6 p.m. ET to coincide with the first game of the evening — pitting Michigan against supreme underdogs Loyola Chicago (only the fourth No. 11 seed to advance to the Final Four). That will be followed by the matchup of two No. 1 seeds, Kansas and Villanova, slated to tip 40 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Twitter’s party will continue on Monday, April 2, at 9 p.m. ET for the National Championship game.

Twitter’s Final Four Watch Parties are positioned as a “companion” to TBS’s broadcasts. The Twitter hub will feature commentary from college basketball analysts Brendan Haywood, Candace Parker, NCAA.com’s Andy Katz, and reporters Allie LaForce and Dana Jacobson. The analysts will be in a booth and the video live-stream will be of them reacting and tweeting along with fans. Twitter also is teasing appearances by “surprise special guests.”

The Final Four Watch Parties will be available exclusively on Twitter to logged-in and logged-out users globally via live.twitter.com/ffwatchparties and via the NCAA’s official @marchmadness Twitter account.

Twitter’s live viewing parties will include sponsored content from Wendy’s — “the official hamburger of the NCAA” — and the fast-food chain also will have branding prominently featured on the social service.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Rakuten TV Launching Pan-European AVOD Service

    Rakuten TV Launching Pan-European AVOD Service

    The buzz at Mipcom this year is about advertising-supported as much as subscription VOD, and Rakuten TV made a major move into that space Tuesday with the announcement of a new AVOD service in the 40-plus countries it serves in Europe. Rakuten TV has been focused on transaction-based video-on-demand, offering customers big-ticket studio movies. It [...]

  • Radio-Com

    Entercom's Radio.com Launches DVR-Style Controls for Live Radio Shows (EXCLUSIVE)

    Radio broadcaster Entercom Communications is hoping to expand listenership of its live programming by bringing TiVo-like functionality to its Radio.com platform. Launching this week, Radio.com Rewind lets listeners pause, rewind and fast-forward live radio. It’s accessible via the online player or in the Radio.com app. Eventually, the company said it will integrate the feature with [...]

  • Help Wanted: Amazon Studios International Execs

    Help Wanted: Amazon Studios International Execs Talk European Expansion

    If there’s a perfect example of Amazon Studios’ strategy with its local-language international TV content, Japan’s “Documental” would be it. The series revolves around 10 comedians who battle to make one another laugh in an elimination-style competition. James Farrell, Amazon Studios’ head of international originals, said it was a good example of an unconventional idea [...]

  • Discovery, ProSiebenSat.1 Streamer Joyn Will Launch

    Discovery and ProSiebenSat.1's Joint Streamer, Joyn, Will Get International Launch

    Joyn, the streaming service run jointly by Discovery and German media giant ProSiebenSat.1, will roll out internationally in addition to launching a premium tier domestically later this year. At Mipcom in Cannes, ProSiebenSat.1 CEO Max Conze was asked whether the service, which offers on-demand content and linear channel feeds, would launch beyond Germany. “We definitely [...]

  • The Outpost -- "One is the

    Electric Entertainment Launching OTT Channel Electric Now (EXCLUSIVE)

    U.S.-based producer and distributor Electric Entertainment is launching Electric Now, a linear OTT channel that will feature its top series and library content. The channel will have episodes of “The Outpost,” the fantasy-adventure series that has just had its third season greenlit by U.S. network The CW. The new season will head into production in [...]

  • AMC theater

    AMC Entertainment Introducing On-Demand Movie Service

    AMC Entertainment will introduce an online video store in the United States on Tuesday. Adam Aron, AMC’s president and chief executive, said that the AMC Theatres On Demand will offer about 2,000 films for sale or rent after their theatrical runs — much like Amazon or iTunes. Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony and Paramount have [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Watch Signs Content Pact With France's M6, Unveils European Short-Form Slate

    Facebook Watch has inked a content pact with French channel M6 and unveiled a slate of short-form content from European digital publishers for the platform. The deal with M6 will see the French broadcaster place spinoff programming from some of its hit shows on Facebook Watch. M6 will run pre- and after-show clips, interviews, and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content