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Peak Perspective: SJSU, MWC on Twitch?!

A not-so-far-fetched possibility

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Vic Aquino

If you’re 18-34 years-old, you most likely watch all of your content on laptops and mobile phones. So, it goes without saying, you’ll recognize Twitch and this presentation of SJSU football in this humor-myself mockup.

For those outside this main demographic, what the heck is Twitch?

Twitch is gamers delivering live streams of their video gaming exploits to 15 million daily fans (TwitchStats) who chat along side, primarily via emotes which is a huge part of the Twitch culture. Twitch was born from JustinTV and officially came into its own in 2014. It’s valued at almost $4 billion (Investopedia) and continues at 20% growth per year. Now, more non-gaming efforts are on the horizon and the NFL has already dabbled in it.

So why per se is college football and San Jose State in particular being presented this way?

Well, it’s just an example, of course, but it’s an idea for the non-power conference schools at the crossroads of traditional media deals, falling attendance and brand challenges who will also try to get into streaming deals with Facebook, Amazon, Hulu and so on. They should also consider leaning into more blended interactivity, like Twitch, to differentiate themselves. If executed just right, the risk is low and the reward very high.

The idea came about about a month ago when my editor, @Mike_SBN, posed the question to his MWC writers. Most responses centered around negotiating traditional media deals with ESPN, FOX, CBS, etc., along with the streaming content kings. So, considering Twitch didn’t seem much of stretch (there are a few worthy Twitch competitors as well). The interactive scene also has more interesting revenue partnerships that would potentially seem to far surpass most of the per school distributions than a normal media deal.

Essentially, it would very much take industrious leadership to begin to fathom the possibilities and honestly, I’m not sure conservative San Jose State or the MWC itself has the gumption. It would take top-to-bottom buy-in to understand and create a wholistic and coordinated approach with business, athletics and marketing for this greenfield opportunity. I’m guessing the leadership stalwarts aren’t of this newer media mindset yet, though MWC commissioner, Craig Thompson, seemed to elude to something different in a recent article with the Athletic.

Things will go this direction even if it’s not Twitch, just like early adopters waffled between YouTube or Viddler 10-15 years ago or even further back between Facebook, Friendster or MySpace. In this case, Twitch is happening with the Internet already at scale with the vast Amazon network as its backbone. That said, even without top-level support, this could be led by a few passionate SJSU gaming students. Or why not make it an actual multi-disciplinary collaboration of classes that blends business management, digital media art, radio-tv-film, and, of course, athletics. What a side benefit this could be to help more students get ready for the real world!

This can be the great equalizer given the Internet in all its bastion and glory. It rewards unique efforts and quickly douses out all other feeble attempts of brand attention which lack authenticity. Upcoming generations will naturally expect genuine engagements, so it behooves any institution to partner with the source and do it right and by-the-way SJSU, Twitch is based in San Francisco.

The resources and expertise to do it are also within each institution, not to mention SJSU is in Silicon Valley; known for its boldness and the entrepreneurial spirit...of course.

Coordinating the technical know-how and business implementation is ideal, but not really necessary to test its worth for the safe thinkers. It’s just a little vision, analytics-based promotions, student involvement and some governance to make it repeatable. Add a bit of creativity and you’re in a unique space. Add more creativity and the world will be watching.

There’s a lot more between the lines here that any courageous, creative & business savvy person or entity can fill in and make work in spades. The picture above is the first thousand words.