Facebook continues to add live sports programming to its Watch platform, announcing a partnership with Stadium that will enable the social network to exclusively live stream 47 college basketball games this season. Stadium, a multi-platform sports network, will tailor the stream to the Facebook audience; communicating with fans in real-time and implementing social elements to the broadcast. The companies have aired 13 football games together this fall; generating over 10 million views. FB is paying Stadium for the rights to air the games, though terms of the deal have not been released. There is no cost for fans to stream the games.
Howie Long-Short: Stadium was created from a merger of Campus Insiders (live games), Time Inc.’s (TIME) 120 Sports (studio operations) and the Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI)-owned American Sports Network (distribution). SBGI reported a 3.3% YOY drop in Q3 earnings, but it hasn’t been all bad news for the company of late. The FCC just voted to relax rules limiting broadcast and print media ownership in a single market. That decision, combined with Bruce Karsh’s (Tribune Media Chairman) recent resignation, would seem to indicate that the company’s purchase of TRCO is likely to be approved by regulators. SBGI expects the sale to close by early ’18.
Fan Marino: The 47-game slate includes some compelling teams, 11 of which made the 2017 NCAA Tournament; Dayton, Saint Mary’s, Middle Tennessee State, Nevada, Florida Gulf Coast, Wake Forest, Rhode Island, U.C. Davis, VCU, Minnesota and New Mexico State. #14 Minnesota, #21 St. Mary’s and R.I. are the best of the bunch. It also includes three first-round Mountain West tournament games and two quarterfinal Conference USA matchups. You can find out if your team is on the schedule, here.
For the balance of today’s newsletter, sign-up here!