Twitter Users Can Now Create Real-Time Sports Highlights

Imagine Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Steph Curry dribbling down the court in an NBA Finals game, dodging a Cavaliers guard and shooting as the clock drains to zero. The buzzer blares and the Warriors win. You, a Twitter user watching the game via livestream, feel compelled to share this exact moment in video form as it happens. 

Now you can.

Earlier this year, Twitter rolled out a real-time video clipping tool that gives users the ability to highlight particular parts of longer, live videos. With Timestamps, users are able to draw attention to a specific moment in a live video when sharing it via tweet by sliding back to the exact time they want their audience to begin watching. If the broadcast is still live, they can skip forward to see the real-time action by tapping on the “live” button.  

The feature can be applied to a range of content categories, including news broadcasts and other streamed events. But one of the best use cases for these timestamps will be live sports.

“Incredible goal? Crazy save? Best part of the whole game? With Timestamps, you can Tweet a live video so that it starts to play at the exact moment you want people to see,” Twitter wrote on Thursday in a tweet that linked to a Major League Soccer game where the Los Angeles Galaxy scored against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Before Timestamps, users could share only an entire live video. Twitter said it saw people tweeting the entire video and directing users to a specific time that they wanted their followers to watch, which prompted the company to figure out a way to empower users to create their own real-time highlights.

The feature is available for any live video, whether from a professional content publisher or someone broadcasting from their phone. This means that much of the content Twitter hosts from big sports names, including Major League Baseball and ESPN, will be highlightable. 

SportTechie Takeaway

Automated highlights are a driving force in sports technology right now that are attracting a lot of VC attention. Time Warner Investments said earlier this summer at Hashtag Sports that it’s interested in artificial intelligence and machine learning, particularly when it comes to automated video production. A number of companies are working on ways to use AI to produce automated video, including Keemotion, IBM via Watson, and WSC Sports, though Time Warner Investments has not helped finance any of those efforts.

Twitter isn’t promising to deliver real-time video or AI as it pertains to Timestamps, but the company’s new feature might be another interesting development in real-time highlights. Rather than using professional AI technology as IBM uses at the US Open, for example, Twitter’s Timestamps might represent a crowdsourced effort where fans are sharing the best sports moments live on Twitter simply because they’re excited.