Facebook will offer exclusive live coverage from eight PGA tournaments leading up to into the FedExCup Playoffs, teeing off this weekend with the Travelers Championship.
The Facebook Watch will carry 60-plus hours of live streamed coverage this summer from the Quicken Loans National; A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier; John Deere Classic; RBC Canadian Open; World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational; Wyndham Championship; and The Northern Trust.
“No matter if it’s a weekend foursome or water-cooler conversation about a top moment on Tour, golf brings people together,” Devi Mahadevia, Facebook’s North America live sports programming lead, said in a statement. “So we’re delighted to partner with the PGA Tour to help it reach new fans and deliver interactive, live coverage on Facebook that taps into the social nature of the sport.”
Facebook has been aggressively courting sports programming for Watch, precisely because sports– and teams — are good at building community and fostering conversation. Live sports are especially attractive because they spark conversation and drive engagement with the platform.
Through partnerships with sports leagues and broadcasters, Facebook has expanded its programming beyond produced shows like ESPN’s First Take: Your Take, a talk show hosted by Molly Qerim that invites sports fans to upload their “takes” of a sports discussion for the chance to engage with commentators Stephen A. Smith or Max Kellerman.
Earlier this month, Facebook Watch struck a deal earlier this month with Fox Sports to carry Big3 basketball, and it partnered with Major League Baseball to deliver a 25-game package of weekly broadcasts will be distributed exclusively on Facebook Watch.
Through its agreement with the PGA Tour, the Facebook Watch’s exclusive coverage will begin at approximately 8:30 a.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday of each event and will conclude when Golf Channel’s lead-in coverage begins. For the league, Facebook has the potential to attract new viewers at a time when television audiences have waned significantly since the days when Tiger Woods dominated the tour, according to Nielsen ratings data.
Airing on Facebook Watch in the United States, the coverage will be produced under the PGA Tour Live brand and, similar to the Tour’s subscription OTT service, will follow two featured groups that tee off in the morning of the third and final rounds. The PGA Tour will seek to take advantage of the social aspects of Facebook’s video platform, and incorporate fan questions and comments as part of its coverage.
The agreement also calls for a range of on-demand programming, including tournament previews, round recaps and extended player highlights – all of which will be available in the United States on Facebook Watch and globally via the PGA Tour Live show page.