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ESPN To Stream Additional Sports Programming On Facebook Watch

ESPN To Stream Additional Sports Programming On Facebook Watch

ESPN will stream more sports, including some exclusive content, on Facebook Watch, augmenting some of the programming the audience interactivity more common to social media sites than traditional network TV.

Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS)-owned ESPN announced the partnership with Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) on Monday, along with some of the lineup.

'GameDay' Pregame

Among the offerings exclusively on the Facebook Watch platform is a college football pregame, pregame show.

If the regular “College Gameday” pregame show isn’t enough to get viewers ready for their team’s Saturday contest, they’ll be able to watch “Countdown to Gameday,” exclusively on Facebook Watch as a lead-in to GameDay, which will remain on the regular network.

Interactive Features

The lineup will also include an interactive show on MMA fighters, called “The People’s MMA Show.” The show’s direction will be shaped some by viewers, who will participate in online polls and Q&A features on Facebook Watch.

Another interactive feature will be a version of ESPN’s fantasy sports podcast “Fantasy Focus Live.” A version of the program will be on Facebook Live and will include fan questions, comment and social media interaction.

Some programming will be partly exclusive. For example, the show “Always Late with Katie Nolan,” which airs on ESPN2, will feed additional exclusive segments to Facebook Watch.

“We are extending some of our most popular ESPN shows and creating new ones with content available only on Facebook and Facebook Watch,” said Ryan Spoon, Senior Vice President, Digital and Social Content, ESPN. “This allows us to connect with fans and drive the conversation around sports in a way that leverages what we and the platform do best.”

Seeking To Keep Viewers

Facebook is seeking to find new ways to keep users on the platform, including finding unique ways for sports fans to consume and interact with sports programming without leaving Facebook for other sports offerings that are increasingly targeting online, mobile viewers.

Meanwhile, ESPN has sought to shift some of its focus to streaming in the face of declining popularity in its traditional cable TV viewership. Facebook Watch, which already draws about 140 million viewers a day, is part of that shift.

Most of ESPN’s digital programming focus remains on ESPN+, its streaming service, which will still be the home of the bulk of its “overflow” content, much of it niche programming that doesn’t make it to the main cable network.

ESPN recently announced ESPN+ will come as a part of a bundled-price package, along with Hulu, for subscribers to Disney’s new streaming channel, Disney+.

Related Links:

How Facebook, Comcast Just Shook Up The Streaming Video Wars

Here Are All The Ways To Watch NFL Football Without Cable


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