Twitter Gears Up for Super Bowl 50

A Silicon Beat story:

Super Bowl 50 kicks off on Feb. 7 and social media companies including Twitter have been stepping up their game before the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers go head to head at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

“The Super Bowl will be one of the most tweeted about events in 2016 as fans all around the world will join the #SB50 conversation,” said Danny Keens, Head of North American Sports Partnerships at Twitter in a statement. “Twitter aligns perfectly with live sports and events so we are thrilled to be the home to the most engaging and live content around football’s biggest game of the year.”

At the same time, Twitter has faced a whirlwind of changes since founder Jack Dorsey returned last year to lead the company. On Sunday, Dorsey announced the departure of four executives and American Express executive Leslie Berland said Tuesday she was joining the company as its chief marketing officer.

Twitter told SiliconBeat Tuesday that it partnered with the NFL on Super Bowl emojis that will only be available on the social media site and are tied to certain hashtags like the company has done for past games. If sports fans tweet #SB50, for example, a gold football will appear. A Panthers logo will pop up for #KeepPounding and a Broncos logo comes up for #BroncosCountryPlayoffs.

The San Francisco tech firm also released a new feature called Moments last year that allows fans to follow tweets about a certain topic including live games as they unfold. There will be a Super Bowl tab in this feature so users can easily follow the live game, according to Twitter.

With the Pro Bowl, Super Bowl media night and an awards show being held before the big game, Twitter said that there will be behind the scenes content on the site from the NFL, players, celebrities and the two teams.

The company also said celebrities will be stopping by the tech firm’s San Francisco headquarters and will interact with fans on Twitter, Vine and Periscope. Twitter noted it offers celebrities a number of apps aimed at making it easier to answer questions from fans on the site or take selfies and share them on the site.

Other social media companies such as Facebook have also been trying to attract more eyeballs during live events in real time, which is a big reason why social media users flock to Twitter. Last week, Facebook announced that it was releasing a tool called “Facebook Sports Stadium,” allowing fans to follow a game in one place.

A 2015 report by the Pew Research Center also found that a higher percentage of people who got news from Twitter — about 70 percent — regularly saw posts about sports compared to Facebook. About 55 percent of Facebook news users saw posts about the same topic.

Brands have targeted ad campaigns around major live events in the past and the Super Bowl is no exception. This is already happening before the Super Bowl, including on Twitter during  the AFC and NFC championship games over the weekend.

Facebook confirmed that it’s selling ads that target people based on what they are talking about in real time, including keywords related to the teams playing in the Super Bowl.

Last year’s Super Bowl was Twitter’s most tweeted Super Bowl with a record-breaking 28.4 million tweets. Facebook also said it was the most shared Super Bowl too that year with 265 million posts, comments and likes.

Twitter’s stock closed down by 0.06 percent on Tuesday at $17.01 per share.