Snapchat, which has reportedly landed a $200 million funding round from Alibaba, has plenty of money to throw around. How does the messaging app plan to spend its capital? According to Digiday, one event on Snapchat’s mind is the NCAA Division I basketball tournament. The app could strike a deal with the NCAA and Turner Sports that would turn the Final Four into a user-generated “Story.”
The “Our Story” feature, which launched in June 2014, collects user Snaps from significant events and strings together the best ones to form a cohesive narrative. Snapchat has created these stories for the Electric Daisy Carnival and the 2014 World Cup, and now, it is turning to March Madness. According to Digiday’s report, the partnership between Snapchat and the NCAA would extend to sporting events beyond the annual basketball tournament, but the deal will be struck in time for this year’s Final Four, which begins April 4th in Indianapolis.
By dealing with sports leagues and broadcast networks, Snapchat can legitimize its Stories and mitigate legal issues. That would, in turn, assist the app as it looks for brands to sponsor its Stories.
As March Madness approaches, the NCAA and Turner Sports have been courted by several online video platforms. YouTube struck a deal that resulted in an official March Madness YouTube channel, while Facebook has a plan in place to live stream coverage of the pre-tournament bracket announcement. Should Snapchat grab its own piece of the college basketball pie, it will continue to establish itself as a legitimate platform for branded content, a push that began in earnest with the launch of its Discover section.
The NCAA may not be the only sports organization assisting Snapchat with its Stories. Digiday notes that the platform is also in talks with other leagues and broadcast networks.