Twitter Powers Social Video for U.S. Open and Heineken

Branded tweets bounce into tennis tourney

Twitter has struck a video-based deal with the United States Tennis Association and Heineken for the U.S. Open, which began today. The USTA will tweet video content during its two-week Grand Slam tourney via Twitter's Amplify platform while constantly featuring the beer company.

Heineken will appear in five-second pre-rolls for the USTA's spots as well as in a banner unit on the video player. The Dutch brand can then retweet those highlights to its followers, Lew Sherr, chief revenue officer for the tennis organization, told Adweek.

In terms of video content, the U.S. Open will tweet real-time clips of exciting moments from the tennis courts by employing Snappy TV's video-publishing tools. Twitter has been partnering with Snappy TV for months to create video-based marketing opportunities during big sporting events such as March Madness.

"The videos will be highlights we see trending in social," said Nicole Jeter West, USTA's digital strategy lead. "They will be snapped near-live."

The USTA has numerous cameras perched in Arthur Ashe Stadium and its other Billie Jean King National Tennis Center arenas in Queens, N.Y., as the org provides a video Webcast of all the matches. So while the equipment has been in place for U.S. Opens past, it's the first time the tourney has combined its camera operation with a social platform like Twitter.

"We are looking for new ways to expose our event to the public," Sherr added. "This is a great mechanism for us to show aspects of the game while cultivating interest and driving [television] tune-in and excitement. From a commercial standpoint, our partners are looking for ways to further leverage their alignment with the U.S. Open. In this case, for Heineken, this is a great opportunity to engage with casual tennis fans and share arguably the most-exciting moments of the tournament."

The USTA's TV partners—CBS, ESPN and the Tennis Channel—aren't involved in this U.S. Open-based agreement.

Meanwhile, Twitter continues to position itself with televised events through strategic moves. For instance, it partnered with Viacom for last night's MTV Video Music Awards (see example below) in an arrangement similar to the one with the USTA. Other Twitter Amplify partners from recent months have entailed Turner, ESPN and the National Basketball Association.