Last night I experienced another way to stream TV. It was on Facebook! Linacre Media has been streaming regional boxing, MMA, and muay thai events from around the world straight to Facebook. Last night was a fight card of 7 fights that streamed for 3 hours with the quality of PPV or network TV broadcasts. There were several cameras showing the action with commentators Michael Woods and Adam Abramowitz doing the announcing. They certainly were not a Jim Lampley or an Al Bernstein but did a better than average job.
What really made this production was the live comments from the viewers throughout the matches. The announcers also interacted with the comments. My screen showed between 700-800 viewers, but articles from their webpage say that they average over 100,000 viewers. I am not sure if either figure is accurate. Facebook showed 509 shares, 104,000 views, and 7,000+ likes.
During the broadcast, it was mentioned that this was the 27th Facebook telecast from this group. It took place in the sold out 2200 Arena in Philadelphia. While there were no traditional ads, sponsors were frequently mentioned by the commentators, by the ring announcer, and were displayed on some boxers’ apparel.
I viewed this broadcast on Facebook on my PC. I tried to view it on my iPad but needed Flash, which is not available on iOS devices. I could have connected to my TV with the PC or my Chromebook but opted to watch it on my 24” desktop PC monitor.
The use of Facebook as a free-to-air distribution platform by live streaming FIGHTNIGHT LIVE events exclusively to the FIGHTNIGHT LIVE Facebook Page, as opposed to the traditional model of pay-per-view or cable broadcasts, seemed to be an acceptable way to view programs of sporting events. They are taking advantage of Facebook’s social environment by producing live broadcasts that encourage viewer interaction and engagement through comments.
The producers say that “We believe that the present and future of ‘televised’ boxing, MMA and really all live sports is digital. Further, by putting these events on Facebook we’re providing an interactive environment for fight fans to not only view the events but to connect with each other and provide their own real-time commentary during the bouts. We believe in high-quality, cost-efficient production that can give fans free access to hundreds of global, national and regional live fight nights without breaking the bank of the promoter and also without sacrificing what sports fans have come to expect from their viewing experience – multiple camera angles, graphics, replays, and behind-the-scenes access and interviews.”
The FightNight Live page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/FaceFIGHTNIGHTLIVE/ and a video of last night’s broadcast is at https://www.facebook.com/FaceFIGHTNIGHTLIVE/videos/299956264041481/