The draw for the fifth round of the Carabao Cup will take place on Twitter this week, making it the first major English cup competition to be drawn on the platform.
On Thursday fans will be able to visit a dedicated events page on Twitter and join TalkSPORT commentator Sam Matterface, ex-cricketer Phil Tufnell, and former rugby player Matt Dawson as the draw is revealed. The draw will take place at Twitter’s London HQ.
It’s not the first innovation the English Football League have experimented with this season with the competition. Earlier rounds have been drawn in Thailand and China in a bid to increase the overseas profile of both the competition and its sponsor.
Unfortunately these approaches haven’t been without their problems; the draw in Thailand saw graphics published with one team mentioned twice and one instance where the wrong fixture was listed. The third-round draw in China also came in for criticism from English fans who were confused by the 4.15am GMT start time and lack of live broadcast, with the details published on social media instead.
Commenting on the partnership with Twitter, EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey said:
“The EFL prides itself on being innovative and not being afraid to try something new if we believe it has the potential to increase exposure and awareness of our competitions at home and abroad.
“We are therefore excited to team up with Twitter to give fans of EFL clubs across the world access to the round five draw via their new live streaming service. It’s the first time a major cup draw in the UK has been broadcast exclusively live on the social media network and presents us with a rare opportunity to engage with a global fan base alongside being able to continue the debate immediately after the ties are determined.”
Bruna Zanin, Sports Partnerships Manager at Twitter UK said: “We are thrilled that fans around the world will be able to watch and join the conversation around the Round Five Draw as it unfolds live on Twitter. The EFL have always been incredibly innovative in their use of Twitter, so it felt like a natural fit to collaborate with them to exclusively broadcast a draw of this kind for the first time.”
With Twitter – alongside Facebook and Amazon – rumoured to be looking at purchasing more sports rights over the next few years, including English competitions, this is a move which could lay the groundwork for a more in-depth partnership in future.
Twitter are already broadcasting a live NFL show in the US, along with 20 games per season of the WNBA. They previously had the rights to Thursday Night Football but lost out to Amazon earlier this year.