Cord Cutting Watch: UFC To Stream Fights Via Facebook Only

Cord Cutting Watch: UFC To Stream Fights Via Facebook Only

From Digital Royalty:

Digital Royalty is excited to be a part of yet another bold UFC social media move. The company just announced that it will air two prelim fights exclusively on Facebook, as part of UFC Fight For The Troops 2 this Saturday, January 22. By simply “liking” UFC’s Facebook page, fans will gain free access to the live stream of the fights.

This broadcast marks a pivotal change in sports media – the first large-scale sporting event viewable solely on Facebook.

UFC President Dana White explained, “Facebook is such a great tool for people to stay connected and we’re excited to put two live fights on our UFC page for free.”

This is certainly a first, and something worth keeping an eye on. It will be very interesting to see how effective the offer will be given that this is the first Facebook-only live-streaming sporting event. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the viewer count.

This announcement comes just a week after the BCS Tostitos Bowl announced a pretty significant number of streaming viewers.

On ESPN3.com, the game was watched by more than 619,000 unique viewers, its most ever for a college football game and fourth all-time behind three 2010 FIFA World Cup contests (source: Adobe).  The previous college football record was last week’s Allstate Sugar Bowl (248,000 viewers), a total that was more than doubled with the Auburn-Oregon matchup.

619,000 viewers is about 3.5% of the size of the television audience. That may seem like a small number, but given that the game was available on cable it seems pretty significant to me. Consumers are just getting better broadband, screen resolution, integration with sound systems making Web viewing a more realistic alternative. That is going to skyrocket over the next two years and that will continue to open up all kinds of opportunities for the sports business.