Facebook Live for Sports BroadcastersFebruary 20, 2018
Audiences around the world are clamoring for live-streaming sports, and social networks are getting in on the action. The largest professional sports leagues in the U.S. are now streaming select games: The NFL and NBA have gone live on Twitter, while Major League Baseball is in talks with Facebook. And it’s not just the pros—colleges, universities, minor-league teams and sports organizations at all levels are now playing to win on Facebook Live.
We recently published a comprehensive guide to creating professional Facebook Live broadcasts, which includes in-depth information on best practices, mistakes to avoid, equipment to use and content ideas for specific industries. Here are a few tips, tricks and ideas from our guide to help college, minor-league and professional sports broadcasters get started with Facebook Live.
Why Use Facebook Live for Sports Broadcasting?
There are many benefits of streaming sports content on Facebook Live. In addition to the fact that it allows you to capture viewership even when you don’t have streaming rights to the big game, Facebook offers:
Access to the world’s largest online audiences. Facebook Live is quickly becoming the dominant live-streaming video portal. With over 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook, you have instant access to unprecedented numbers of fans through the platform they’re already using.
The ability to directly engage with viewers. Facebook Live’s unique features for audience engagement make it a perfect match for sports fans who want to interact with broadcasters, teams and each other. Through real-time commenting and Live Reaction functionality, which allows viewers to send emojis indicating their reactions across the screen, you can directly respond to audience feedback and facilitate engaging dialogue between viewers themselves.
Opportunities to drive ticket and merchandise sales. By creating compelling live video content that gets fans to directly participate, professional sports teams can build buzz and excitement that drives ticket sales for upcoming games and merchandise purchases from fans who want to show their support for their favorite teams and players.
Recruitment and donation assistance. Building an enthusiastic online community through high-quality Facebook Live content gives colleges and universities a leg up when recruiting new athletes, selling gameday tickets and passes to current and former students and soliciting donations from alumni.
Facebook Live Content Ideas: College, Minor-League and Professional Sports Broadcasters
Cable and network TV stations pay high premiums for the rights to broadcast games, making online streaming rights a major hurdle. For sports broadcasters that don’t own the rights to live stream games in their entirety, there’s plenty of other content you can use to build momentum for the upcoming season and create an online destination for fans. Here are few ideas for sports streams that go beyond the main event:
Supplemental gameday content. Just because you can’t show the game doesn’t mean you can’t go live from the scene. Give online fans something to watch on commercial breaks, or while they’re following along on social media. Go live from the sidelines with players as they go on and off the field. Stream from the locker room to capture candid moments. Or host pre- and post-game shows where you interview players, coaches, fans, mascots, cheerleaders—anyone who wants to share their reactions on the big day.
Analysis, highlights and special programming. We’ve said it before: Facebook Live is a perfect place for niche and in-depth programming. Host an interactive, sports-themed talk show with analysis, strategy and lineups; highlight reels and clips; and interviews with players, coaches and insiders that fans can participate in.
You can also use Facebook Live to go in-depth. Show a spotlight on an outstanding team or highlight special campaigns and initiatives, such as fundraisers for cancer research and tributes to veterans. Profile athletes, coaches and superfans. Or offer exclusive live streams of practices, draft announcements and press conferences.
Interactive segments for superfans. People are passionate about their sports teams, and many will leap at the chance to interact with one another and show their loyalty. Live stream contests and trivia where viewers can compete to prove they’re the biggest fan. Host shows by fans, for fans to talk about their favorite teams. Let coaches conduct Live Reactions polls about draft picks.
You can even get more obscure and go live with mascots, announcers, refs or other behind-the-scenes personalities. Or take a trip to the team store where fans can help you pick out the ultimate gameday outfit.
Cross-promotion opportunities. Sports teams frequently partner with major brands by offering real estate in stadiums, on their website or in on-the-air advertising. Why not do a joint Facebook Live broadcast with a sponsoring brand? You can cover a special event, offer an exclusive halftime show, cover a charitable initiative or host a special challenge to get fans involved.