Facebook signs as exclusive global streaming partner of WSL
World Surf League, the organiser of the annual tour of professional competitions, has agreed a two-year deal with Facebook for the social media giant to become the exclusive digital home of the WSL.
The partnership builds on a one-year non-exclusive streaming deal in 2017, in which WSL claimed that more than 13.9 million people watched its events on Facebook.
The contract covers all elite men’s and women’s Championship Tour events, the Qualifying Series 10,000 and Big Wave Tour events, as well as the World Junior Championships, in 2018 and 2019. Additionally, there will be a streamed weekly magazine show called Surfing Sunday.
The league said the action will continue to be available globally on its website and "while we make sure our fans have the best live viewing experience on Facebook."
Sophie Goldschmidt, chief executive of WSL, said: “Facebook fosters a global community and, as surfing is a sport that celebrates and centres around community, we are proud to announce our media rights partnership with the platform. This is game-changing for the sport in many ways and, with current and new fans front of mind, we can retain the free offering to fans, and it allows us to deliver the world’s best surfing to even more people on Facebook’s platform.”
Dan Reed, Facebook head of global sports partnerships, added: “This is a natural next step in our terrific partnership, which has steadily progressed over the years as the league has expertly used Facebook to distribute content and build community. This was especially true last year, when millions of fans came together on our platform to watch live surfing. We’re excited to help WSL continue to serve and grow this vibrant community and usher in a new era of surf broadcasting on Facebook Watch.”
Facebook Watch is the video tab launched last year, which at present is only operational in USA.
The first event of the 2018 WSL Championship Tour will be the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast in Australia, which gets under way on 11 March.