Most athletes have hobbies and interests outside of athletics. The perfect platform to engage in these activities while interacting with fans is Twitch. Whether it’s playing video games, watching sports or something else, Twitch allows creators to create conversation and build community while streaming live. Fans converse in the chat and creators can respond directly in real-time.
Some Twitch setups can look intimidating, but in reality, the most difficult aspect is simply getting started. Start with a basic setup and establish streaming consistency to get comfortable, then begin to build an audience. Use your current network of friends, family, and followers to support your channel. Communicate and create content related to what you’re doing on Twitch to share on your other platforms. This establishes your own mini-ecosystem that can begin to build a large community.
As you build this community and establish consistent communication with your audience, monetization opportunities arise through subscribers, bits, donations, ads, and sponsorships.
The most common monetization opportunity through Twitch is subscriptions (subs). The typical sub is $5 per month. Once a streamer reaches an affiliate level, according to Twitch, “subscribers gain access to custom global emotes usable across all of Twitch, subscriber badges, ad-free viewing, and more.”
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the average Twitch streamer has about 25 subscribers. With athletes already having highly engaged followings and unique lifestyles, we predict athletes will perform above average. On a monthly basis, athletes could be earning anywhere from $125 to $500+ on Twitch based on their sub count.
Another monetization opportunity for athletes on Twitch is bits. Bits are like virtual cheers that are used by your viewers to show support, celebrate big moments, and share their voice. Bits are displayed in the chat through emotes and each bit equates to $0.01. A penny doesn’t sound like a lot, but they add up quickly during a stream especially when engaging conversational and community-driven content is being produced.
As a streamer, you can ask your audience to provide a donation if they are enjoying your content. There are multiple ways to set up a donation box on your stream. Extensions like PeachPay, Donorbox, and PayPal allow you to connect bank information so viewers to easily donate directly to you. To alert viewers that you’re accepting donations, include a call to action in your stream directing them to support your content if they are enjoying it.
A creator can begin running ads when they reach the affiliate level, which requires at least:
- 500 total minutes broadcast in the last 30 days
- 7 unique broadcast days in the last 30 days
- 3 concurrent viewers or more over the last 30 days
- 50 Followers
According to Twitch, “Regularly running ad breaks during your stream can disable pre-rolls, meaning that new viewers will not have to see an ad when they join your channel. We’ve also found that viewers are more likely to stay through an ad break than they are to stay through a pre roll.”
The more viewers you have on your stream, the more you will earn since revenue is based on how many people view your ad. Viewerships tends to be the highest in the middle of your stream, so running short ads through the middle of your stream can maximize your earning potential.
Similar to typical influencer marketing, streamers can negotiate sponsorship opportunities to highlight brands during their stream. From giving a shoutout, wearing a branded t-shirt, or having the brand logo on your stream, sponsorship opportunities are endless, so get creative. Twitch doesn’t facilitate any of these deals, so make sure you have your Opendorse Profile set up and marketed in your bio so brands can pitch deal opportunities.
Nick Hamlett – Twitch Partnerships
We caught up with Nick Hamlett who works with athlete partners and creators on Twitch. He emphasized the importance of being yourself while streaming. With a camera on you, it’s easy for the audience to tell if you’re being authentic or not.
He also noted that it’s important to review important analytics such as hours watched, time streamed, and average viewership. They are performance metrics that provide more personal growth value and are valuable to showcase when negotiating brand partnerships.
Nick also noted that it’s important to make your mental health a priority on the platform. If you’re having a busy week and you can’t be as consistent as normal or need to take a break, communicate with your viewers and followers, and they understand.
Lastly, Nick identified an opportunity for student-athletes that is a popular type of Twitch stream in other countries: “study-a-longs.” This is when a student will stream and communicate with their followers as they’re studying or doing school work. There’s an opportunity for the athlete to share a thing or two, while learning from their audience at the same time. Getting paid while studying doesn’t sound like a bad deal.
Athletes On Twitch
Be sure to disclose all payment activities to your institution or governing body to remain compliant and eligible in your sport.