A Look Inside the Evolution of Twitter with TJ Adeshola
TJ Adeshola, Head of US Sports at Twitter, joined the show to discuss all things marketing, best practices that every brand should doing on Twitter and things every brand should STOP doing on Twitter.
TJ gives his take on where the future of social media is headed, apps/platforms he uses on a daily basis, and general insight into the industry.
He also discusses how athletes/celebrities/brands can create lifelong fans by engaging with their fans with a simple like or RT. "If you're a young kid in Los Angeles and Kobe Bryant likes your tweet, that kid is automatically a lifelong Kobe fan now!"
Here are the highlights:
[15:20]: What are the Top 3 Ways Brands Should be Utilizing Twitter?”
David: “Top 3 things how athletes/brands can leverage twitter for the most success?”
“1: Be Authentic. Be you. Be genuine. Don’t try and copy someone else’s style. One of the gifts of twitter is, if people sniff out inauthenticity, they will call you out!
2: Provide a vantage point that folks don’t typically get to see. Maybe you’re a vegan - Why are you a vegan? What do you eat? What are some tips and tricks for people to practice?
3: Connecting with fans. Hitting a like or retweet, having the ability to connect in ways that past athletes didn’t have the ability to do.”
What is going on is David Brickley. It is the business of social podcast powered by s t and digital. Each and every show we talked to the experts to dig into digital and marketing and social strategy and making sure we uh, drop some knowledge for you guys as you take the time out of your day to listen. This is episode number 32. Um, right off the bat we got, we got, you know, urban magic Johnson, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, not doing, not doing a tremendous job as a Lakers. Uh, GM, what is he? Vice President, whatever. What is VP of basketball operation. Hopefully he can get something to go this summer, but uh, who else? We got 32. Well, we got, um, football, Jim Brown, Jim Brown. That's a phenomenal player. Okay. We have an awesome show for you. One of my good friends worked with him a ton at Twitter.
He's the head of US sports at Twitter. TJ Adeshola, um, is going to join us on the program and really talk Twitter talk, uh, technology. Really what they're focused on a as we sit here in 2019 and I think the biggest thing for, for Twitter and these social platforms that they're, you know, at the IPO level, they're being judged on a quarterly basis. And I think when you're trying to build a platform at scale for long-term success and long-term growth, it can't always be a quarterly game. So I'm excited to dig into what the ROI is for his department. And I think they do a tremendous job. And I'm not just saying this cause I know TJ, but his team, you know, Dave Herman will x line, um, you know, all of the, all the great people, Brittany Cranston, um, you know, when you reached out to them, they give you a response.
And I'm just, you know, an agency owner that has, you know, quite a few clients, but you know, they, they, uh, they always email it back and always respond to my text messages. And I know that's tough, right? When they're dealing with the NBA, the NFL, the MLB, the mls, they have so many partners that rely on them for somewhat of a smaller team. Um, and they always just treat everybody with so much respect. And really, I think from a partnership relationship standpoint, that's just so important. I see a a, I see them doing better than everybody else in the game right now at that. So you guys will enjoy this. TJ is a great guy. He's joined us I think from the national championship in Minnesota, so Minneapolis. So we will, uh, bring them on. TJ Adeshola head of US sports at Twitter. Hi Guys. He is the head of us sports at Twitter. TJ Adeshola joins us. TJ, what's up man? Good to see you. What's going on man? It's been awhile. I know it's been too long. Um, I always kicked things off with a random question. So in the spirit of Hashtag NBA Twitter, we have three people at a three point shootout. One person's Ryan Brown, the other one's David Herman, the other ones will x line. Yeah. Who wins that shootout that that's not even
close. Actually, you could throw a blindfold around Ryan, Ryan Brown, and he's still my winnet on this, right? You have a Ryan Ryan skills by d h Ryan. It's more so it's less excitement on David and will and more appreciation of Ryan. Ryan can bode a little bit, man. Ryan can go good. Right? All right. All right. One on one between you and Ryan, who do you got? I've never taken a l baby. I've never, I've never taken a l. And in fairness, I would, I would've hoped that Ryan would say the same thing. I'm a little older, have lost a little athleticism, but okay. But my pump fake games mean pumped me out. I've got the perfect helps out after after 30. Man, you guys start using it. I've got the, I'm the old man. YMCAs moves now, dude, I got, I got the double ankle braces, tights and uh, it takes me about 15 minutes to get ready and loose.
It's all bad. Of course. I want to get into your story a little bit and I know you, you work for some time at ESPN prior to Twitter, but what got you into this industry in particular and what kind of makes you geek out about this particular field? Yeah, I'll tell you man, my Hatha was not, um, was not necessarily fought out. Uh, so every day I wake up and go to work, I'm super appreciative of where I am because I didn't draw this thing up, right. Like when I was in college, there was no such thing as a Twitter. I mean, so, um, this is a, a role that truly did not exist while I was thinking about what my future would or could look like. So, so at the University of Georgia stayed there for Grad school about the dogs. Yeah, exactly. Go dogs, go dogs.
And I'll never forget this man. Um, George [inaudible] was playing Auburn and ESPN College Game Day was coming to campus and I had a few friends who would intern there and I asked them to put in a good word for me and they said, game day, we'll be there all day. Just go to the set early, try to find the person who looks the most important and do what you do. So I got there early that our student union called Tate and UGA and none of those guys were wearing blazers as you'd imagine, cause they were on there all day. And uh, I just tried to pinpoint who seem the most important, who was calling the shots and who, who had the most, um, the most pool from a college student's perspective. I ran up on this dude named Dave Dave's as loud ski. He ran, he ran all of their audio programming.
This was back at a time when it was called an ESPN radio total wrong student, the Grad student at UGA and love and opportunities in land, an internship in Bristol, Connecticut at ESPN. A few months later, I got the internship internship concluded and I committed to myself that, that I wouldn't leave bristle with that a full time job offer. And I ended up getting a full time job offer from the rest is kind of history man. That's awesome. Yeah. So talk to me through, uh, Twitter and how that came about. So you're working on ESPN. Did you work on mostly the marketing and the digital partnerships? Right side of things. So when I first started I was on the audio programming side, so the time it was waking up early in and helping out with, uh, Mike and Mike in the morning and Scott van pelt show and then Russillo at the time.
So it was a really good time. Um, I mean I, for one was ready for a change from Bristol, Connecticut. Shout out to my homies who are still in Bristol, Connecticut. We just had, um, Katie daily on this stuff. She's great. She was also, she's holding down Bristol. Yeah. Yeah. I grew up a city kid, man. So I just kinda felt the tug in the city. And there was an opportunity in Chicago, which would require me to shift business unit. So in Chicago it was more of a sales marketing role on the operation side, supporting or digital initiatives. So it was watching ESPN, it was espn.com or working with marketers to assist them and to, to build, um, marketing strategy, leverage espn.com and watch ESPN, help them try their objectives. So that was my first soiree into the digital space. And, um, while I was there, I had a friend who was like, man, this Twitter thing is kind of popping me, you should look into it.
So I this, this doesn't happen. David. I applied online and all of that. twitter.com I love you man. I'm shouting for careers that Twitter com we work in, we work good. I applied and I applied. I got hit back within 48 hours. Um, and uh, I did well in the interview process and um, yeah, at the time Twitter sports was, was um, was developing an identity, um, because it was so early. Most of the work that we were doing was around just helping publishers and partners be good athletes, be good at Twitter, best practices, things that work versus things that don't work. And here we are several years later and we're talking about a platform that has had Thursday night football live, a platform that has second half of of NBA if live PGA tour coverage, live, MLB and mls games. It's changed a lot. The, the dialogue that we have with the best sports publishers in the world in my opinion, have evolved. And it's a really, really exciting time to be in the space to kind of random topics. I want to go down, first of all, I think to apply to man, you have some of the like best people skills in the industry in my opinion.
I think you really know how to connect with people and I think that obviously is an amazing and your type of role where you're on the ground and you're dealing with partners. Um, do you constantly think about that? Is that a skill that you built over time and do you know, you kind of have a, have a skillset in that area?
Wow, man. I, I'm just excited to work in sports, man. I, I grew up a sports junkie, so I think part of what makes me successful at what I do is just a genuine passion, right? Like every day on activity too. Yeah. Yeah. Like I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm happy, I'm happy to, to lay some up every single day and um, and have some of the discussions with the folks that I grew up being a super fan of their properties, McDonald's drive through may not have that same, that same enough. Again, it depends if I'm getting free fries, I'm getting free fries. Pretty happy dude. So for me it's just keeping myself, um, though, reminding myself of how dope my job is and how cool the team that I get to work with on a day to day basis is, so that fuels a lot of the passion, the energy that I have for the role.
Is that, I mean, do you just, I would assume you would preach. That's the key to success overall. I think there's so many of our friends, I'm sure and so many people that you come across that just unfortunately have that love, but they're stay in on the grind and they just don't really have that passion and that Ah, that wears on you if you're not waking up and truly loving what you're doing.
Yeah, it's tough. It, I think about it with athletes too. Like you always hear folks ask like, when do you know, um, you shouldn't be claiming anymore? And they say it's one, I don't love it. So for me, when, when I come across people at their jobs who are just kind of like, man, I can't stand this. I'm like, well, maybe you should reevaluate like what you do. Maybe they're on. Yeah. Maybe there are things that you can harness passion for. Because when I think about my team, especially, we've been fortunate enough to have very little attrition, but when we have had opportunities, the first thing I want are people who love sports because you'll find yourself in Minneapolis in rhymes, wary for the Super Bowl, freezing your ass off. Right? But if you love sports you're like, yeah, but I'm also looking for the super bowl. So it requires people who love their job. Cause this thing isn't a nine to five. Twitter is, you know, social isn't a nine to five, so you've got to put in, you got to put in a little bit of work. But if you have a passion for it, it shouldn't feel like a job all the time.
Yeah. I love it. I also want to applaud you, your team. Um, and I want to get into like brand awareness for Twitter specifically cause I think, um, outside the other networks like a Facebook, like an Instagram, like a snap, you guys, especially on the sports side, but entertainment as well. You guys make sure you have a footprint. You guys make sure that the celebrities see that Twitter bird at these different events and know that there's a presence there. I know that's, there's a human behind this platform. Um, I'm assuming that comes from the top down, but is that just, uh, a theme that is constantly you guys are striving forward to be, to be out there in touch with people?
Yeah, I think we've always had a bit of a, a scrappy mentality. Um, but another thing too is we really cherish the relationships that we have partners. And if the NFL says there's an opportunity for Twitter to have a presence on radio row, our first question is, do you want us to be there? Can we add values? If that's the case, let's do it. Or if it's the NBA awards and they say there's a footprint to capture content, I call you up. I'm like, Hey man, we've got a pretty cool footprint that we haven't done before. So it really starts with, um, having a scrappy approach, but, but two and maybe more than potent, more than most importantly wanting to add value to our partners. When your partner trusts you enough to allow you to have a footprint at there, they're top events. They're tier one or tier one, um, activation. Then you know, there's trust. So the goal for us is to, to continue to deepen that trust and deliver upon whatever those cause they may have are.
And that may be the, the celebrity or the, the players only interaction on the red carpet and that they choose to go to the Twitter booth and that's what they see the guys from the NBA or the gals from NFL or what have you. It is interesting that I never really thought about it that way, but they're trusting you guys and your team to say, wore down to have you guys be kind of the front facing activation of this entire thing.
Yeah. Yeah. And it never hurts to have the bird flying around all over the place. So that's, that's, that's a bit of a priority for me. I want to be tangible. I want people to reach out and touch Twitter, Twitter, sports. And I think we've been able to do a pretty good job, man. I've got a fantastic team and I'm a leadership who, who supports that. So it's been pretty good. It's been pretty cool. We'll just, uh, well the challenge for us will be to continue to iterate upon that once you've done it, VA awards a few times, once you've done radio row a few times, how do you do a bigger and better in the following years?
I want to dig into Twitter as a whole right now because I think we're going through this media transition and let's stay in sports for a second, especially in the NBA. Um, I thought about this with Tyler Price, who you and I both know well, but I think we're getting to the place right now where players don't necessarily need the media, at least not as much anymore. These players, you know, Lebron on a, on an interrupted, you know, he, he goes to the Lakers and the only way you found out about it was through a clutch sport tweet that that came out. And what are your thoughts on kind of where we are in 2019 where we're going in terms of these athletes, celebrities having their own megaphone? I mean, maybe it makes more sense for Rihanna to, you know, post your music video or a performance on her Instagram rather than maybe going to the billboard music awards because she has more control and she has that platform now when it comes to social media.
Yeah, it's one of the most exciting aspects of our job. I have a a colleague Briny Cranson who's based in La and her job is solely to work with talent and athletes and agencies, equipping them with the tools to leverage this microphone and really creative ways at to really, really fun. Um, with a guy like Lebron who has initiatives around more than just an athlete and, and shut up and dribble like those are, those are initiatives that impact lives and drives, but it's really cool. Or today a lady on bill tweeting us shot of, of a text that he received from a teammate and it was basically like, hey man, you've been a really good teammate to me and you've always showed love. It's all been positive vibes and it resonated with them and he tweeted it out today. And I think that's just a really cool way to showcase positivity and, um, and, and, and just the idea of being a cool teammate. So
get into TJ is just athletes really. I mean, I think we're getting to a place now and I was talking to [inaudible] price, so we both know well over a Turner about this where I think we're getting to a point where athletes necessarily don't need the media or the journalists to get their message out there. You see Lebron with uninterrupted, I think a, when they went to the lake, when Lebron went to the Lakers, it was simply a Klutz, a Klutz sports tweet that came out. Um, where do you think we're headed right now where the, the megaphone of a Twitter or social media overall allows these guys to speak to their fans directly?
Yeah, it's, it's a really exciting time. Uh, but it's contributing to this evolution, this rapid evolution there was staying in the marketplace for years. We've worked with the traditional properties, we've worked with the name bricks and we've worked with the leagues and we created strategies for them to help amplify the leagues as well as the players. Now as you mentioned, players are realizing that they have a microphone at their disposal, at their fingertips. They can tweet something out to the world and really shake things up. I. E. Antonio Proud yesterday, right? For better or worse, part of what makes my job so exciting and, um, Twitter sports at large is it's really working with athletes and agencies to empower their, their folks to do really cool things on the platform. We have a colleague of mine, Brittany Krantz, and she runs all of our sports talent and agency relationships, um, in La. Her mandate is just that, how can I work with athletes, help them leverage this microphone that we call Twitter to do really cool things.
Last week, Tom Brady joined Pluto, um, and it was really tired. It was really, really cool. And Brittany created an onboarding, uh, support and strategies for them to do it and really cool and thoughtful ways. So those are the conversations that get me the most excited because I truly believe and when you strategically you can leverage social and Twitter specifically to do really awesome things. JJ Watt as you know, raise tons of money for the city of Houston over the past, uh, over the past year or so and uh, or seeing athletes, Kevin Durant's, Steph curry, Lebron as you mentioned, and folks within the Players Tribune really leveraged these, uh, the scale of the presence. They have to create their own, their own, um, platforms. And that's, that's been a key change. Uh, and it's really facilitated some of the fragmentation that we see in the marketplace. We all know that every single athlete can't create their own uninterrupted or players should view or 35 media per se.
But it is really cool to see how the space is evolving and brands as a result, are starting to ask themselves, is it easier or is it more impactful for me to do, to work directly with an athlete and their property for storytelling? Or should I work with the traditional networks and broadcast partners like I have in the past? To, to achieve these marketing goals. So it's fascinating and I feel like we're at the forefront of that discussion, which is pretty fun. It gets your take on kind of like a viral clip at our industry anyway, which was Adam silver. I think you were speaking with Bill Simmons at a conference and talked about how he thinks a lot of players, um, are kind of in a depressive state in a sense because of the hate or the negativity that can happen with social media. What are your thoughts on, on that?
Like there's such a good part of Sosa, but also there's the part of salsa where if you're in it too much, if you're a 24, seven, and I think Kevin [inaudible] maybe has a, felt this more anybody, uh, how to kind of balance that, right? Where you can use the best of both worlds. One of the things I admire a ton about athletes is thick skinned. They are man, um, you set in, in, in stadiums and arenas before and you look to your left and your ranking like, man, are you really saying this to an adult? Don't know. Or even if you know that bands get pretty bold, uh, in the West Park and all that, and Utah comes to mind, it's wild. So, EH, t to your point, um, when you can be anonymous and you can do that within a timeline, um, it tends to, uh, encourage more, uh, direct thoughts, uh, good or bad.
So, uh, one of our priorities is it's just safety and health. How do we equip these athletes and people in general, Twitter with the tools to, to black people, to mute people, to um, have an experience that doesn't feel like it is a vitriol or doesn't feel like it is negative. And we've worked really, really hard to make progress and we still got a ton of work to do, but we understand, and I hit this directly from athletes, we hear this in the stadium all the time. Uh, and so it's an, it's an, it's, they've been hearing this, they've been getting trolled since they were in high school playing AAU Ball. So they're accustomed to it. But, uh, when it's so prevalent and so ubiquitous, eh, it, it can, it has impacted some folks. So our, our, our, our, one of our primary objective is to make sure that they just have a safe good experience when they happen to the Twitter app and they realize their ability to use the platform for guns.
I think everybody in our industry understands that the NBA is really head and shoulders above the rest of the leagues in my opinion, in terms of just global Sarah and their content, allowing people to reach out and touch these athletes. A lot of it has to do with, you could say courtside at a Laker game and literally touch Lebron when he's dribbling down the court once. I think you talking about it did talk about the NFL at a time. When you're wearing a helmet, it's a little more harder to I guess, associate with the athlete. But what do you think the NBA is doing? Right? You guys have kind of jumped into this Hashtag NBA Twitter. It's been going phenomenal as well. Um, what is the MBA doing right? And what can other leagues learn from it in your opinion? Um, to kind of be able to, you know, increase their brand awareness?
Yeah, it's interesting man. Um, because from my vantage point or my perspective, I see each of the league is doing really, really cool things and they all do stuff differently. MLS does things differently. They're really scrappy and they're really, really leaned in and engaged on, on social platforms and they, uh, they're, they're really eager to do bigger, to go bigger, to go deeper. And we have conversations with them on a weekly basis. The NFL, I want to say two years ago, created a program where they, uh, can seamlessly provide content for their players to publish as close to real time as possible. And they be equipped players with the ability to do that, uh, Major League baseball and they've done a ton of stuff, particularly with that Bam technology. So it really, it, they all do stuff differently and all of them do stuff really well. I think one of the advantages that the NBA has inherently, those guys, just the players just love social right there.
More like the athletes seem to use.
Yes. Right? Yeah, they're, they're really, really, really leaned in. Um, and I think I think about a, a sport like baseball where the personalities are just very different odds on the field, on the court. Uh, so, uh, it lends itself to a more a front facing kind of social presence. But yeah, I think one of the things that I come into the League for the NBA is equipping their players with the autonomy to go do it. Like if this is what you feel good, do it, use these platforms. Just be smart. They interest them to be smart on, on social, on social media. And I think it's, it's a deliver that strategy that approaches delivered in spades from them. Because when you as a user or as a fan get personally buying into what Donovan Mitchell is tweeting or what CJ McCollom is tweeting or cow cool Kusama's tweets or his content on social, you inherently develop an affinity for the team.
All of a sudden you find yourself liking the trailblazers because of how funny Dame is on Twitter or how funny CJ is on social. And the same goes for some of the young guys on, on the Lakers as well. So the League has just done a really good job at that. And the, the players have grown up with Twitter, with Instagram, with, with snapchat. So they understand how impactful these platforms are and they're just savvy. They're savvier than, than some of their predecessors. So they've done a fantastic job just owning it and leaning into the, uh, the impact that that digital can have for them.
I think we're around the same age. I was born in 87 so I mean, Michael Jordan was, you know, Jesus to me essentially. Um, and then growing up in La, Colby was another one by heroes as 1213 year old. Thinking back at that, if Jordan would have tweeted me like, you know what I'm saying, if Colby would have liked one of my tweets when I was 12 years old, I mean, that's better than an autograph. That's better than probably meet him. And I can only imagine these fans now when they actually can tweet to Lebron or what have you. And he actually replies back. I mean that's the thing you go to school and Brag about and frame in your room and it's a big deal, man.
I say that to athletes all the time. Like if you scroll through your mentioned that just hit the heart button a few times. Yeah. Cause actually that, uh, that does a world for what is a year, you know? For sure. For sure.
Yeah. Yeah. Um, so what is, I guess from a Twitter perspective, I'd love to hear from somebody at Twitter header us sports, um, what's like the top three things that you're talking to an athlete or to a league or to a sports brand about, about how to leverage Twitter, how to best utilize the platform, um, you know, for, for ultimate success.
Yeah, it's a great question. One is just being authentic, right? Like don't try to be somebody else because when the gifts of Twitter is, if people sniff out inauthentic inauthenticity, they'll call it out. So it's authentic. Being genuine, being you, um, resonates really well on the platform. I think too is providing, uh, a vantage point or uh, an angle or perspective that folks don't typically get to see from you. Maybe you are a Vegan, tell us why or leading and tell us the type of stuff you eat on a day to day basis. One of the things that people love is seeing athletes, their workout schedules. Like how committed are you to this? What are some drills that you do? What are some, some exercise that you do this providing a little view under the hood. Just tell back the current yeah, that's exactly right. And then what you just mentioned a few moments ago, connecting with fans like hitting a, like hitting a retweet, responding, um, having that ability to connect in ways that um, that our, our, our Jordan's and our Kobe's didn't have the ability to do beyond signing an autograph and person.
Um, those are, those are really, really, really cool ways to, uh, to, to, to leverage social and m and do it and do it in ways that drive impact, but providing, providing that, that peeling back that curtain like you, like you said, tends to, to, to, to really do well for these folks. Publishing video publishing images to rich media, um, there that's helpful. And then of course you've heard this man, you've been in the space long enough understanding that, um, your voice on Twitter maybe different than your content strategy on Instagram, right? Um, planning differently for each of those, those, those platforms, both of those platforms being wildly impactful for them, but understanding that there are different approaches that you can have for each, for each platform. Maybe instead of, uh, tweeting out an instrument, I'm link, I actually upload that image, drive more engagements for myself on Twitter, thinking about it strategically and those types of ways, uh, tend to be successful for the folks that we work with.
I've always wanted to ask somebody at one of the platforms this, when you look at like Instagram, Facebook, snap, is there like a legitimate rivalry? There is like team Twitter, you know, forget Instagram or their best or like, do you understand there's like different lanes you guys all are good at. Like how do you, how do you guys approach it around the lunch table at Twitter?
Yeah. Well, so you've been at all of these big, right? Like we legitimately stand right beside each other. We are by the same space at every event. So for me, I think it's foolish to, to, to, to look at them as people that I don't want to be or I gotta be around Joe as anyway. So let's learn from each other. Let's, uh, understand like, what makes you uniquely you and what makes us uniquely us and truly I've seen them so much in the marketplace that I've developed friendships. A lot of folks on the AG side, on the Facebook side, on the snapchat side. So we're all colleagues. We grab food, we, we, we, we talk shit. We talk, uh, Pretty Trans family
because the truth of the matter is a lot of us deal with a lot of similar, similar things internally. So yeah, you always play for the Jersey on the front of your chest, right? So I'm always going to be teen bird gang of course. But uh, see those, those folks are those folks who are great people, man. And we work with the same stakeholders in the space. So I think it benefits all of us to understand what makes each other's platforms so, so beneficial and how, um, how we can work together in partnership as we see each other. That's Twitter though has unique or I don't mean this to be a public service announcement or Twitter. I think he's in a really good space because listen, Instagram stories really hurts. Snapchat like that was a big blow. You've seen the daily active users go down and Instagram just went crazy and that was a big move.
I think for you guys though, you guys are so 24 seven, so real time, especially in sports and really the only place that people can add mets in our Hashtag and just get, I mean every time there's an earthquake I search on Twitter and everybody's like, Yep, that was an early, that was earthquake. I mean little stuff like that all the way down to south happening very seriously in Kenya and at these different locations in Egypt where people are actually finding places safe to go to. I just think from like your guys' perspective, there's no real direct competitor for what you all do in that is a dental, what we've hung our hat on there, like if you want to know what's happening in real time, you come to Twitter, it was really, really, really simple. You want to join that real time conversation around your favorite event, your favorite album that just dropped.
My favorite team had conversation occurs on Twitter and I'm, the beauty of it is oftentimes the conversation blossoms and it unfolds in other places, but in real time it starts on Twitter. Absolutely. All right. So I want to get into streaming because you mentioned earlier in the show about Thursday night football, which I thought was huge just for sports and, and technology and where that's going. A lot of, you know, right d rights deals are coming up here at 2020 2022 at being the head of us sports and seeing 5g potentially being ready at that time. Where do you think we're headed with all this? Cause I think, you know there's definitely, there's always been the nbcs and abcs and foxes of the world, but it seems like the platforms, the twitters, the Amazons, etc. Are definitely going to be here having to sit at the table. Yeah. I think sometimes people forget how expensive rights are or really like we're talking bs, like not em billions of dollars. And while what's up the original Thursday night football deal though was like the steel of all time. Like that was an amazing, amazing deal. Yeah. I mean my mom always told me to, to, to, to look for the best man. So
we were able to eight and plus that. That was a great deal. That was, and the beauty of that is really quickly
game for eight, eight games, something like that.
Yeah. I try not to talk about the pockets, man. But it happened, it happened. It happened relatively quickly and the NFL just eager to test and learn like what do we have here? Yeah. And what would this look like on, on, on platforms. And we were able to get in there and work with them and we learned a ton. That deal actually was the impetus for, for our live business. So, um, we, we've, we've learned a ton there, but I mean, when you think about these deals, um, I mean with ESPN, like I believe that the Monday night football deal is, is 2 billion bucks. Um, the, the Turner with ESPN and, and NBA deal is, it's two and a half, 3 billion artists. That's big. That's big. That's big money, man. I was a march madness, like 10 years at like eight and a half billion or something like that. It's unbelievable. So it shows how valuable these rights are. But to me it's also confirmation that linear dollars are, or are, that's a, that's a whole different ballgame and linear investments and the checks that our colleagues at the network can cut will always be different than at least what I know that we will be able to do. So
true though is that true? As we talk about 20, 25, I'm just thinking in terms of the attention and the cable cuts, cords, cutters, and um, you know, the majority of money from television coming from paid advertisement on commercials and you know, more than anybody like that, that habits starting to change. And it's a rassic way.
It is. It is. But what I would say is like, TV advertising dollars are, are still massively, massively larger than what exists on digital. So what I, what I think will happen is what you, you, you've indicated there will be further fragmentation and there will be opportunities for folks within our space to get in there, to be opportunistic, to be scrappy and maybe get some of these rights, particularly a player, like, like an Amazon. Um, but I mean our, our priority maintain his is the same and that's should be a compliment to these these rights holders who've done amazing work in the right space for a really, really long time. Sometimes that'll mean if there is a digital carver or digital extension to rights and may have lived on linear, that makes sense for Twitter and sometimes it may mean that um, the rights will live with them, but we'll create a really cool ancillary experience to drive a affinity for that particular, for that particular property. So I do think you'll see more fragmentation, but I also think that our, our, our counterparts
on the linear and and rights holder side will, we'll probably get a bit more aggressive with the investments. We're willing to chunk up. We'll add if they can, if they can make the, and so you agree with this, they can make the adjustment quick enough over the next five to 10 years of moving those ad dollars to an ESPN plus or two more of a Ott platform. I just think that's probably going to go down a little bit and then rise back up because it's gonna be difficult to keep that trajectory. But it seems like if you look at an ESPN, they're going to go all in on ESPN plus make that switch eventually and then potentially keep the same type of revenue model. Yeah, agreed. I think what is come the most fascinating is watching how creative rights holders get about carve-outs. Um, you think about what the NFL has been able to do with Thursday night football.
That's a try cast it lives on Amazon, it lives on and I feel a network and it lives on their respective, uh, broadcast partner that listened three different places and able to carb that bad boy out and monetize it in each, in each location through. Um, with us we've been able to work with mls like last year we had a weekly mls games and they were blacked out and uh, local regions, right and shape look had a really cool deal with, excuse me, I MLB. Um, and they had exclusive games that lived on, on Facebook. So these rights holders are just so smart man. And they're carving out their carving out an inventory. They're carving out rights that will allow them the flexibility to test and learn with, with, with such as us. So it'll get fun. Which is why I'm so, uh, I just get so excited about what we have to learn.
Uh, and the discussions that we can continue to have with these, these rights holders, Alex that argue about programmatic ads. Cause I think we're going pretty quickly to a place where with these different streaming platforms, David likes the Lakers, he lives in La, he likes ball, his life on Twitter and he just liked collide. Leonard's new new balance Ad. So we're going to serve him, collide, Leonard's new shoe ad and just be like, to get really like granular to that. I think that's what's so interesting about what you guys could do in the future and what these streaming platforms cause right now linear advertising is like hoping and praying that the right people are watching their ad. But pretty soon here, it's going to get exactly what TJ wants a, it's going to get right in your face type deal. Yeah. I think where it gets fun and interesting is, um, when marketers and they, they're, they're, they're right now understand that they can almost surprise and delight me with advertising. If I, to your point, if I like an NBA highlight on Lebron dunking and Nike serves up a or a tweet
with the new Lebrons, I'm, that is a pretty cool experience for me, you know? So, um, but on the flip side, some consumers view it as as intrusive or creepy, right? Yeah. Yeah. So there's a thin line, there's a balance there for sure. But marketers are really smart and, um, laws are such that they're requiring platforms like us to be really, really, really diligent about what is allowed versus what isn't allowed. So I think we'll, uh, I think we'll get to a good place. Uh, we hauled out a lots of learn. Nobody has all the answers. So, um, we'll see what happens. What's, uh, what's the most exciting thing you've worked on as of late? That really pumped you up or just got you excited once the, once the deal was signed, you knew like, hey, we're about to drop it on these, on these folks.
Wow, that is a good one. I mean, I, I'd have to say that, uh, it w it to two. So one, one, um, was actually we'll say three, right? I want to hear your favorite. Those say three. Um, the most dominant team in the world am my submission is the US women's soccer team. So we've been able to work with box, uh, to create programming around the, the u s women do the women's World Cup. We're really, really, really excited about that. It is coming up and we get to watch greatness and that greatness gets some unfold in the form of, of highlights on Twitter. So that's super exciting. Um, two, two of the programs that I just through the roof about, it's one we launched with major league baseball called the MLB Twitter hitter. So every single day major league baseball publishes a pole with four options.
It'll say, who do you want to see on Twitter? Who's ad Betsy wants to live on Twitter today. It'll be Brice, it'll be trout, it'll be Machado, it'll be plead. Whoever wins that Pole, uh, Major League baseball, we'll live stream each of their ad bats that entire day. Uh, that's really cool, right? Because you do two things. One, you engage users and you figure out what they want. And then two, you provide them with the content that they told you that they want. So I, in a few instances, we've had some of the Twitter hitters actually hit along, both hit home run. So that's been really cool because it isn't, it isn't a a live game per se, but it engages and engages the users on the platform and then provides a really, really cool, cool content. So alive live series of at-bats every single day. So that's fun.
And then of course, the NBA Twitter live, which is something that we've worked on for a while. We have known that NBA Twitter is just this amazing community on the platform. So we really challenged ourselves with providing that community with content that they'll get excited about. And we, uh, we kept knocking at it, we kept knocking at it and we were able to work with Turner and the MBA to, to live stream the second half of games with a different set of hosts, uh, and Twitter commentary. It's really, really fun. And these are the types of deals that we're looking to do more of moving forward. We don't want to just snag a linear broadcast and forth to Twitter timelines. We need to figure out ways to make it unique and differentiated. We know that a user's not going to be watching, holding their phone, watching a game for two hours. So how do we incentivize a user to stick around to join the conversation and to want to watch this content on Twitter. So we've just got to get creative. But those two deals or, or, um, or, or two that I'm really, really excited about.
That's awesome. Um, what are the numbers and metrics you guys are looking at it cause as a public company too, you're always judged on a quarterly basis. I mean when you're trying to build something for the future, quarterly isn't always the best way to look at those metrics. Uh, but it's Kinda the nature of the beast. Are you guys still looking at monthly active users? Is it user growth? Um, what are kind of the main metrics your, your team's looking at on a monthly, quarterly, yearly basis?
Yeah, it's a good question. I'll tell you quite simply, we are looking at content that drives conversation. That is from the top down. Jack wants us to really engage with our users in a deeper, deeper way. And what we believe our super power is is that live real time conversation. So figuring out ways to encourage our publishers and folks who use 200 on a day to day basis to join that real time conversation on a day to day basis. So our top metric moving forward or one of our, our priority metrics moving forward will be a conversation. What, what drives conversation and how we can lean into that a bit more than we have in the past.
Love it. All right. So I got some rapid fire here to finish things off. Um, this may be, this may be easy for you, but we'll see. Outside of Twitter, what is the one social or marketing tool that you could not live without
outside of Twitter? What is the one's social or more giving to it? I can not live with out, uh, my answer would be what that, what's that? What's that?
I'm African American and so my family blows my whatsapp up. So there's a, there's a lot of, of, of conversation and connecting that occurred than whatsapp.
All right. Give me your guilty Twitter. Social follow.
Woo Guilt is social Paolo. Oh, that's a good question. Um,
I know, I know the world is watching this man, so I gotta be gotta be really, really particular. Um, there is, I mean this isn't guilty like I'm unabashed about this. Like all things sneakers is, is, is, is my, my, my love. So be our cakes is, is one that I have on notifications and I shameless the case. Wow. That's a lot. I looked at it. Yeah. Look at, I'm looking at quite a bit and kicks deals. I like to find the sales man, so I get those. I get those notifications. So he sues how many suits do a pair of Susie on? So I started to, uh, to give, to give a a lot of way, mainly because, uh, my mother shamed me and secondarily because I live in New York and I don't have that much, that much space or room. So, um, I would say that I probably got it in my New York City apartment.
I probably got, you know, 75 or so. Okay. Yeah. Um, got a few of the offline. I've got a few of my mom's please. Um, what's the one athlete that you wish everybody followed? Wow. Town db. Woo. So beat that. I wish every body followed. Oh Man. Uh, oh, this is easy. There are a few, well, hey, not one that like everybody knows, right? Like are we talking understated like surprise ones? I just think like the PR, even a castle family, you got to follow this guy. You got to follow this girl. So the obvious answer is like, so Joel and bead is obviously fantastic Juju. Smith to sir is fantastic. Um, but lesser heralded snacks. Harrison is hilarious at snack. Okay. On Twitter. He just had a, a a march madness, uh, competition on his timeline about snacks. Obviously he has an affinity for snacks.
He's great. A lot of the young guys in the NBA are awesome. CJ McAllen, uh, Dame Lillard, Kyle cools, my Donovan Mitchell. Those folks are all really, really good. Um, and our industry fall ball was a major thing. What are the different things that you do to keep up to speed on this advert changing and crazy industry that we're in? Yeah, I tried to stay as well read as possible and well versed. I'm having conversations with folks like yourself. Um, from, for me the, we talk about this sm sports community and you see that the hashtags all the time, like there's this built in repository of, of social media learnings that you can opt into simply by clicking the Hashtag as I'm sweating and I don't know how often. Yeah. Or people who are watching do it. Yeah. There are tons of learnings to be sourced directly by clicking onto their hashtag.
It's, it's, it's phenomenal. And I would encourage people, cause sometimes you may, you may tweet out something with the Hashtag, get some sports and you may not get, it may not go viral or you may not get all the engagements you want to, but I want you all to the people who are watching that stuff and people are looking at it and it is really, really, really, really impactful, thoughtful stuff. So keep those sweets come in. Um, but yeah, staying well-read, um, being well versed on the ASM sports community and uh, just trying to develop really deep and meaningful relationships with our sports properties so I can learn what keeps them up at night and figure out ways that I can help them drive their business forward. Overall, what inspires you to stay on the cutting edge? What inspires me to stay on the cutting edge?
I'm a, I grew up a sports obsessed, not, uh, so sports is truly my, my, my, my passion. Uh, also the fact that I get to work in my passion and learn about the business of what I'm passionate about, that that gets me excited. That gets me up in the morning to, to, to, to the job. Cause I get, I can get, uh, truly learn from it. And I truly, uh, feel rewarded by working with these publishers, by working with these properties and learning about their businesses and learning ways that I can help drive that and drive Twitter's business as well. Um, so that, and just staying thirsty, saying hungry man, like staying, staying eager to learn. Um, and I'd say that those are the things that do it for me, man. Over under 60% chance. I, Kevin Durango's a the New York Knicks. I'm gonna take the over.
It Katie's out. We know that Katie Katie is not, is not going to play it. It was it the chase center, what's it called? The new, uh, the new warriors. He won't, he won't play there, but I've been as a, as a hoot fan. I've been as a sports fan particularly saying I, I'm always clamored for somewhat and free agency, a big, big free agency type name to go to New York and resurrect what people call the basketball Mecca, which is New York. I've been coming to spend like 30 years. It's becoming a problem. It is. And could you imagine like a free agency if pre Miami of Lebron was like I'm going to go resurrect Madison Square Garden column. Coward said it recently. He's like it's amazing how well the MBA's done over the last 20 years with no presence in New York. Like once they, if that happens they resurrect that.
Wow. Maybe I can go on a whole nother level. Cause la will be pop in New York will be popping and think about like the Jeters even a guy like a Michael stray hand, right? Like when you do it in New York it's a different, there's a different level of stardom. There's a different level of access and power that you get an MSC. Is this the best place? Like, if you, if you, if you get the city of chairmanship, you have a statue on 34th in New York. Like that's, that's big time stuff. So I hope that that will get to see, uh, a bright star come to New York and do some special things. They drive science, they get, they get Katie, maybe Kimba or Kyrie free agency name you're talking about. Are you talking about a different type of basketball team?
All right, so I always ask this at the end of the end of the podcast, if you could recommend anybody in your network that you think we provide value for this show, would you recommend anybody? Uh, I reached out to, to speak to next.
Yeah. I, uh, I'm a big fan. I think this is a good transition from, from what I, from my vantage point, Ciaran John Smith who works with Steph curry and um, and unanimous, they're just doing a lot of really, really cool stuff. Brandon, his schedule might be a little while, but the playoffs around the corner, he, uh, he's worked at the Obama administration. Did Nike, he's you, Steph Curry's right hand man on all things business. So he's a really good one.
Um, I'll have to ask you for that intro. Well, last thing for the, uh, for the people, man. Anybody that's trying to aspire to be in a place like you are right now, head of us sports at a major social network platform. First of all, congrats on all that, man. It's, that's a huge, a huge, uh, place to be in. Um, any advice for the folks out there trying to aspire to be, be at that level one day?
Yeah, I think just continuing to be a student of the game, knowing the business, the in and outs of it. Uh, and then building relationships. I mean, do you know this better than the anybody buddy? Um, a lot of, a lot of what occurs in our business is a function of people who like working with each other and people who build relationships. But if you couple the knowledge of the business with an ability to build and scale relationships, I think that makes it pretty, pretty solid in our space.
TJ, head of u s sports. Thank you so much at the time and I appreciate it. We'll see you man. Appreciate it. Yeah. All right.
my man. TJ, thank you so much for joining me on the program. Um, that was a really good conversation. I think, you know, really going all the way back to how he got his first somebody ESPN, I mean t j f everybody knows him. He's a, he's a gifted conversationalist. I think everybody that comes across this young man enjoys his, uh, his passion and his positivity. I know he has a really good energy. I really enjoy working with him or just, you know, hanging out with them when I have the time. So, you know, t did as good job of that, but really getting his first Gig in the industry was just going up to people and trying to find out who the decision maker was at ESPN and saying, listen, I'm going to go to Bristol and I'm not leaving him without a full time, a job offer.
And that's just, I think that drive and determination it takes to be successful and to get where he's got at this point is definitely something to be proud of on his standpoint. I also, you know, never heard this from the Twitter side of things, but they, they tried the Thursday night football, you know, streaming partnership. It went pretty darn successful. I think it was really, um, you know, we talked about the million dollars that was public data, but I think it was $1 million per, per, uh, Thursday night football for eight weeks. And the NFL learns a lot from that. Twitter learned a lot from that, but it seemed like Twitter is saying, hey, you know, we're not going to go head to head with NBC and Fox and try to just bid on the rights of the, of the platform. We made a great point. You know, I don't think a lot of people are holding their phone for two hours watching an NFL broadcast.
So how could we create ancillary content, um, that can really feed the beast. That is Twitter and the people that are on that and really give them a second pair of, uh, eyeballs at a different look at a different event on what they're doing with the MLB and NBA is really, really cool. Um, and then I think, you know, our discussion about programmatic ads, I think, you know, of course that balance between, uh, Cambridge Analytica, what faces going through, but also why, where marketers want to get to and that's just like very, very granular, uh, Bullseye type marketing approaches where if you like [inaudible] Leonard and you like do balance that I'm going to serve you and do balance add type deal. Um, you know, that's where it's going and that's where markers are going to want to get, I think as far as how successful social has been as well.
So, so really good stuff. Makes sure to go follow TJ on Twitter. Um, if you enjoy the program and you guys are a weekly listeners, we asked you to go to iTunes and just, uh, you know, hit us with that five star review. We always appreciate it as always. Want to thank, uh, will Kelly, David [inaudible]. How about Auntie lightening? You know, coming back from the, uh, from the grave here to help us out here on the weekend to get us back up to speed. Appreciate all you guys. So, 32, this is the business of social podcast powered by STN digital.