OT: Facebook To Stream College Football Games

Submitted by HimJarbaugh on August 23rd, 2017 at 2:53 PM

Facebook announced today that it will stream some cfb games this year. The games are not high profile at all however their partner, Stadium, owns the exclusive rights to the games so Facebook will be the only place to see them.

Facebook announced a deal on Wednesday with Stadium, the 24/7 digital sports broadcaster, to stream 15 college football games exclusively on the platform. Stadium owns the rights to the games, and will produce them specifically for the social network, meaning they won’t air on TV or anywhere else online.
Facebook has been trying to collect sports rights and livestreams for the past year, but most of what it’s secured has been either niche or not exclusive to Facebook.
The company has streamed some NBA and MLB regular season games, but those were available in other places. It also recently inked its most high-profile deal, an agreement with Fox Sports to stream some Champions League soccer matches, arguably the top soccer tournament worldwide outside of the World Cup. But those streams are also not exclusive.

The games are below:

Saturday, Sept. 2: Miami (OH) at Marshall, 6:30 pm ET

Saturday, Sept. 2: UC Davis at San Diego State, 8:30 pm ET

Thursday, Sept. 7: Idaho State at Utah State, 8:00 pm ET

Saturday, Sept. 9: New Mexico State at New Mexico, 8:00 pm ET

Saturday, Sept. 23: FIU at Rice, 7:30 pm ET

Saturday, Sept. 23: Utah State at San Jose State, 7:30 pm ET

Saturday, Sept. 30: Texas State at Wyoming, 4:00 pm ET

Saturday, Oct. 7: Southern Miss at UTSA, 7:00 pm ET

Saturday, Oct. 14: Wyoming at Utah State, 4:30 pm ET

Saturday, Oct. 21: Rice at UTSA, 7:00 pm ET

Saturday, Oct. 28: FIU at Marshall, 2:30 pm ET

Saturday, Nov. 4: North Texas at Louisiana Tech, 3:30 pm ET

Saturday, Nov. 11: Southern Miss at Rice, 3:30 pm ET

Saturday, Nov. 18: Marshall at UTSA, 7:00 pm ET

Saturday, Nov. 25: FAU at Charlotte, 2:00 pm ET

Hopefully they will do as good of a job as Yahoo did with their broadcasts of NFL games. I also wonder if this signals some other parties may be coming to bid on broadcast rights in the next round of negotiations. 

Link to Article

Comments

HimJarbaugh

August 23rd, 2017 at 4:17 PM ^

It's a big risk for FB to bid and it would destroy their growth, unless they get enough eyeballs. For example, Fox and ESPN are paying a total of $410mm for broadcast rights this year. That's just for the rights, not including the expenses for broadcasting the games, travel, cameras, etc. 

If they can't make it profitable, get the viewers or advertisers, or lose viewers, they are on the hook for billions as these are multi year deals. They have billions in revenue, so it may not hurt them too much but they would have to spend a lot to put into place all they would need to get the games streaming.

Google has a lot of that in place and has 100bn in revenue. FB is, to put it nicely, as boom or bust as it comes. Their model is far too shaky to take on billions in liabilities with no expertise.

Dawggoblue

August 23rd, 2017 at 4:39 PM ^

Maybe I am looking at these numbers wrong, but in 2016 it looks to me like Fox channels had a net revenue of $856 million.  Facebook had a net revenue of $10 billion.  Again, I am struggling to see where the issue is.  I understand there is a ton of overhead to take on to produce and broadcast these games, but if they were just bidding on 1 conference such as the Big Ten and broadcasting 2 or 3 games a week, I have a strong feeling they would not be putting themselves in financial stress.  Couple that with the number of people looking to cut the cord and the number of people on facebook, I think you have a pretty decent product.

TrueBlue2003

August 23rd, 2017 at 5:31 PM ^

and asked if you're familiar with FB's financial situation in the past 9-10 years.

They have over $10B in cash on the balance sheet, and are growing that number at an absurd rate.  $30B+ in current assets.  There's a reason they're included in the big five "FAANG" tech companies along with Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google.

Some combo of those companies will almost certainly end up owning most sporting broadcast rights sooner than later.  Facebook has about as good a platform, or better, as any of the five digital giants to be able to do this the best.

Heard of FB live?  They've already figured out how to broadcast and distribute live events with very high quality (something I'm not aware that Netflix or Prime do, but I could be wrong. EDIT: I am wrong and Amazon is streaming Thursday night NFL games this year, more proof its only a matter of time until you're watching all your sports on one of these platforms).  Being able to do that at scale is by far the most difficult part of streaming live sports.

It is not difficult, at all, to hire good human crews with the amount of money they have and with the amount of money they stand to make off those broadcasts given their reach, especially as traditional broadcasters struggle to operate as efficiently and lay more and more people off.

HimJarbaugh

August 23rd, 2017 at 9:50 PM ^

lol I love the condescension and am well aware of FB's financial position. Just because their stock has been hitting ATH all year and they have grown at 30-40% for the last few years. That's great. It's also built on people using its platforms continuing to do so in the future and that is why they need things like football to draw people in.

But tell me, how does a bar owner get a facebook feed to their TVs? How are people aware of these games beyond facebook ads? How can they price the bid on this if they have little to no data on viewership? This may be a springboard to that, but it's going to take a lot for them to be able to pull off making watching sports on an oculus a standard thing. Even streaming on an app or website has all kinds of challenges beyond capacity that they would probably be better off buying CBS for 30bn than paying 5-6bn for half a decade's worth of broadcast rights.

TrueBlue2003

August 23rd, 2017 at 11:21 PM ^

but the only thing saving the traditional networks, temporarily, is the fact that they're locked into these contracts for the time being.

$400M isn't a lot of money for FB or Amazon or Google, especially when that is almost certain to be profitable for them.  All your concerns are super, super easy to solve:

1) Bar owners?  Internet connected TVs.  They're a thing.  It's how you watch Prime and Netflix on TV.  If bars don't have them already, they'll get them pretty quickly once these distributors own the rights to sports. It's actually easier than getting a cable or satellite subscription.

2) How are people aware of these games? Seriously, is that a question?  How are people aware of how to watch any sporting event?  If you're a fan, you look up the network.  If Michigan is playing on FB, you'll be watching it on FB instead of whatever channel would otherwise be showing it. For casual fans, FB owns the second largest ad platform in the world. Awareness will be the least of their concerns.

3) How can they price the bid?  They price it at whatever it takes to win the business.  These companies have so much more money than the traditional networks that they'll take losses in the beginning if they have to to kill the traditional networks.  Remember these companies are swimming in cash, where the networks are struggling.

And to a previous concerns, sports production modules (trucks with the equipement, cameras, etc) are outsourced. And also a drop in the bucket in terms of cost compared to the broadcast rights.  Operations won't be a problem.  It'll be the same crews.  Just distribution will change.

Plus, I don't even think they'd incur losses even from the start.  Their distribution model is far superior to cable bundles.  People keep cutting cords.  There are people all over the world that would watch Michigan play if it were as easy as opening up FB on their internet connected device, but currenlty don't have cable or don't have BTN or whatever network we're being shown on. It would be easier for more people to watch on FB than on current distribution platforms.

Again, it's not a matter of if, it's just a matter of when some combination of the FAANG's (with Hulu, Snap and potentially other digital media players in the mix) take over live sports, and it'll probably when a lot of these leagues next contracts are up for bid.

Farnn

August 23rd, 2017 at 3:06 PM ^

Before streaming games takes off, we need more reliable internet.  At least where I live, internet speeds slow down in the evening when everyone is streaming netflix.  Not sure the technical reasons, but getting the signal via regular cable vs a stream is never as relaible if there is a lot of usage at the time.

Farnn

August 23rd, 2017 at 4:20 PM ^

It's not Netflix throttling, all internet slows to a crawl.   This is in NYC, and can't reliably watch anything live because of frequent buffering, including ESPN, Fox Sports, illegal streaming sites.  Even Game of Thrones on Sunday night is choppy streaming from hbogo.  And forget about any online games.  Outside of 7-12 PM Sunday through Thursday, internet is fine, so the only explanation I can think of is too much load. 

74polSKA

August 23rd, 2017 at 3:21 PM ^

It's cool that Facebook will be streaming games. I'm sure someone, somewhere wants to watch these games. All this makes me think is how far Conference USA has fallen though. There used to be some decent teams in that league.

UM Fan from Sydney

August 23rd, 2017 at 3:52 PM ^

I agree with your point, but it's still nice to have random games on the laptop (muted, of course) while watching other games on the TV. I like having as many games going as possible every Saturday. Except when UM is on, I have the Dish Network Hopper setting to four screens on one monitor and then two laptops going with other games.

Blueblood2991

August 23rd, 2017 at 4:22 PM ^

Only a matter of time indeed. 1080p has been around since the turn of the century, but most cable infrastructure can only handle 720p/1080i. 4k Tvs have been around for awhile now.

The NFL started this with streaming on Twitter and now Amazon. They are now using 4k cameras. They've used Thursday night games as a good test run.

With most CFB games being on cable, this is basically an ultimatum to either upgrade their lines, or lose out. Not to mention the fact that they can get accurate ad views by knowing exactly how many eyeballs saw an ad, compared to the barbaric Neilsen Ratings.

KC Wolve

August 23rd, 2017 at 3:41 PM ^

I hope this isn't a trend. I have zero interest in ever signing up for Facebook, but I guess I would have to reconsider if they ever got decent games. It is interesting though. When the rights market crashes, it will be interesting to see if someone steps in. Can you imagine Netflix buying the B12 or other conference rights?

copacetic

August 23rd, 2017 at 4:26 PM ^

I'm all for more sports streaming on these types of platforms.

Twitter had the Thursday night NFL games last year, and the quality was really great. This year Amazon has those rights, after beating out Facebook and Twitter with a bid of $50mil (5x what Twitter paid last year)

http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-beats-twitter-to-stream-nfl-thursday-night-football-with-50-million-bid-2017-4