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How Facebook Live is Turning the Social Network Into the Sports Broadcaster of the Future
By: The Drum
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From real-time conversations to live updates, Facebook has slowly made inroads into sports broadcasting over the years and now is set to quicken that push with a more pronounced live offering.

Live sports remains one of the last bastions of TV to remain relatively unscathed from the advent of digital but the inherent social experience of watching those events has brought a new dimension to how people use the world’s biggest social network. That was given even further depth when Facebook Live launched late last year and made real-time broadcasting available to all users, accelerating its shift from just hosting user-generated content to actually becoming a media owner.

The inclusion of live video has been a huge draw for broadcasters, especially given Facebook’s claims that the average viewing duration of video on its platform is three times longer when it’s live. It stands to reason then that sports broadcasters would be keen to tap into this potential and somehow yield this new social media opportunity as a tool to increase engagement with viewers in a way that would also benefit their televised content.

Speaking to The Drum, Facebook’s head of global sports partnerships, Dan Reed, described the early signs of success as “extraordinarily encouraging“ and said he expected more sports broadcasters to follow suit. The additional Wrestlemania 32 content shown on Facebook Live yesterday (3 April) is testament to that demand, while reports that the online platform has withdrawn its bid to stream NFL games reinforce its measured approach to navigating the complex world of sports rights.

“It’s not a hard sell once they use it and see the results,” adds Reed. In the US Fox Sports and ESPN have begun using Live to supplement their sports coverage and Reed believes that when “other broadcasters see the size of audience that the Live generates then they’ll be on board".

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This article was published by The Drum. A link to the original appears at the end of this post. www.thedrum.com
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