Will snapchat kill TV sports coverage?

This is a post from PRISM’s Social Army – regular briefings on topics aligned to our business or close to our hearts. Today’s entry is from Ciaran Mulvihill from PRISM’s London office.  

Snapchat, the once quirky app for pulling funny faces, is now a Goliath in real-time consumer interaction. Its rise has been driven by 18-35-year-olds and much of that by their use of it at sporting events. I know, because I am one. And please don’t use the M word. You know the one I’m talking about.

Snapchat, though, has recently levelled-up its sports offering, to answer the prayers of a frustrated football fan like me.

Subscription is a right turn off

When Premier League football lived on SKY and terrestrial TV, it was bliss. My parents had SKY for the big Super Sunday clashes, and terrestrial for regular matches and cup games.

But hang on there, Captain Kirk, then came a new signing by the name of BT Sport, with a shiny deal for 42 games, and that caused a problem as big as Stoke on a Tuesday night. Just trying to work out what channel a game is on has now become an arduous, weekly task.


I don’t use subscription services for SKY or BT Sport so I can’t get games there. The parents have ditched SKY (not worth the money), so now I rely on the limited coverage available on terrestrial. But even trying to catch Match of the Day for highlights, the BBC’s seminal football show, just to keep up with the action is similarly troublesome. If I don’t see it live on Saturday or Sunday, my chances are gone. Match highlights aren’t on BBC iPlayer, either, so when I walk into work on a Monday, I have to fake-pretend like I saw that ‘amazing goal’ from Sanchez just to keep my footballing dignity.

Snapchat – cooking with gas

Where does this leave me? Well, I’ve recently turned to Snapchat for the answer. Snapchat provides featured channel space to media owners like SKY, and SKY is running with it. I can check the SKY space for pre-game build-up articles and team news, and then get all the highlights from the weekend’s games on the Snapchat app whenever I want to watch them.


So, what does this show? We 18-35-year-olds are a generation seeking sports coverage and content on our own terms. No wonder Netflix and Amazon Prime are booming. But will sport follow? It will be interesting to see whether the Premier League embraces these new viewing trends with its partners.

Maybe other rights-holders will follow the model adopted recently by the NFL, which broadcasts big games, but also livestreams a number of matches on Twitter.

Man United vs Man City livestreamed on Snapchat, anyone? I’d definitely give it a watch. It would be free, after all.

Ciaran Mulvihill

November 7, 2017