Facebook is now the place to get extra sports coverage for almost every media outlet. Don’t believe me? Last night members of the media were all over Facebook Live – ESPN, Fox Sports, 120 Sports, Sports Illustrated, USA Today and local broadcasters at FOX and ABC affiliates in L.A. all used the platform to reach a global audience. Our colleagues at USA Today still have the video up and running. Check it out! There’s no longer a need to jump from site to site to find a live stream or video coverage, just go to Facebook and everything is there.
There are a few ways to look at this, but the biggest reason for media contributions is that Facebook is the easiest way to reach both the domestic and global markets. Facebook is everywhere — well almost everywhere — and instead of trying to gain fans, viewers and comments on their own sites, media companies are working with Facebook to increase exposure of sports media personalities and their content. The goal is that fans will eventually convert from Facebook to USA Today, ESPN, and FOX.
As long as there is some type of revenue sharing deal it should be fine. After all, Facebook makes money off of ads. Digital sports properties make money off of ads. All things considered media companies probably would like that revenue directly, but if Facebook can generate more revenue and a quicker buy-in from content consumers it is the best avenue to gain exposure.
Facebook simply lowers the acquisition cost for eyeballs. With over 1 billion users it’s easier for media companies to build their followings using Facebook and Facebook Live. That is why social media companies entering the media rights fray is so interesting. Twitter is the first with its NFL deal, but if it works out well Facebook will most likely follow into the media rights battle. Currently Facebook relies on original user generated content and that seems to be enough for its media partners.
Michael Colangelo is Managing Editor of The Fields of Green and Assistant Director at the USC Sports Business Institute.