Women’s sport has proved particularly popular across Facebook Live in the second half of 2016, with 6.5m fans tuning in to watch a variety of elite sports including football, rugby and netball.
Across 12 matches broadcast live over Facebook between August and November 2016, over 6.5 million people tuned into watch teams such as Doncaster Belles, Liverpool Ladies and Man City Women, demonstrating the growing interest in both women’s sports and Facebook Live as a sports destination.
Ronan Joyce, Facebook strategic partner manager, sports, commented: “Facebook Live is one of the most popular ways for people to discover and share content – and some of our most forward thinking sports partners have embraced it this year.
“It’s particularly exciting to see women’s sports getting such strong viewer numbers on Facebook Live, which is giving clubs and teams new ways to increase distribution and engage fans.”
Manchester City Women’s team features heavily in the top ten most watched, as one of the most successful adopters of the live platform to engage new audiences. The club alone has over 2.4m viewers across eight ‘Lives’ in the last few months.
Gavin Makel, head of Women’s Football at Man City, believes the success is down to Live’s ability to help the team build a new global fan-base, which otherwise wouldn’t have had access to the content.
Makel commented: “As a club we have seen fantastic growth across all of our social media platforms in 2016, particularly on Facebook where we now have over 4.5 ‘likes’ from fans around the world who support Manchester City Women. As fixtures in Women’s Super League One (domestic league) are only broadcast in England and therefore not available to many of our global fans, aside from highlights on our website, we began to look for new and innovative ways to connect and bring the game to them. With Facebook providing a platform for streaming video content, we felt that this was the perfect opportunity for us share the live match day experience with those fans and we’re delighted to say their feedback has been excellent.
“In the five games that we have streamed on Facebook Live we have recorded between 450,000, and 830,000 unique views, so we are very pleased, not only with the strong figures themselves, but also the fact that game on game we are seeing an increase. It has been great to hear that many of those fans who support us from around the world have had the opportunity to watch their first ever Manchester City Women’s fixture.
“The ability to share this season’s success with so many people via Facebook Live and to know they are watching events unfold in real time with us here in Manchester has been a real highlight. We’re delighted that fans have had the opportunity to follow our journey at key moments, whether this be our debut in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, the road to the final of the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup, which we subsequently won, or the presentation of the Women’s Super League One trophy. We look forward to sharing more memorable moments and football matches in the future!”
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