October 13, 2016
SYDNEY (AFP) - Twitter will live-stream Australia's Melbourne Cup horse race next month, its first sports deal outside the United States as the company pushes to reignite growth.
The social media platform has been seeking to broaden its audience by offering users live video streaming of events, with more than two million people tuning into its first broadcast of a US football game last month.
Twitter, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, has been struggling to keep pace with faster-growing rivals and last week saw its shares dive after a report said Google was not in the running to buy the San Francisco-based firm.
The Victoria Racing Club, which hosts "the race that stops a nation" on November 1, said the deal would help the Melbourne Cup reach a global audience.
"We are thrilled to... (become) the first professional sporting event in Australia to be live-streamed on the social networking platform," the racing club's Nick Addison said in a statement Thursday.
The 155-year-old Melbourne Cup is the world's richest two-mile (3.2 kilometres) handicap race at Aus$6 million ($4.5 million) and is watched by millions of Australians.
Under the deal, Twitter would split revenue from video ads from the free livestream with the Victoria Racing Club, a company spokesman told AFP.
The social media giant said it was its first commercial live-streaming partnership outside the United States.
Twitter reportedly paid $10 million for the right to stream 10 National Football League games, and also stood to make money from advertising woven into broadcasts.
Twitter is yet to make a profit, having struggled to boost growth, with the number of users stagnating at slightly more than 300 million for several quarters despite the return of its co-founder Jack Dorsey as chief executive last year.
Speculation that Twitter is putting itself up for sale has ratcheted up in recent weeks, but no bidders have declared their interest publicly.
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