- Facebook will add more live sports to its programming following a deal with Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions. Boxing fans in the U.S. can see live boxing on Facebook Watch, while the Golden Boy Promotions page on Facebook will show the matches internationally, according to a press release.
- Golden Boy teamed with Kathy Duva's Main Events boxing promotion company to increase the number of featured world-class fighters in matchups. Facebook also will stream related programming like rebroadcasts of past fights featuring commentary from boxers starting on July 13.
- Golden Boy's first of five live fight nights on August 11 will showcase Jesus Rojas defending his WBA World Featherweight title against Joseph "JoJo" Diaz Jr. at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood, California. A week later, the second live bout will show light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera against a to-be-determined opponent at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Facebook's streaming agreement with Golden Boy is among the social network's efforts to boost viewership of Watch, the video-on-demand service that launched last August but has reportedly struggled to find audiences. Facebook wants to differentiate its video platform from other media channels by letting viewers form online communities around its programming and share their reactions with other people, almost like posting on Twitter with a topic hashtag that other users can follow.
Facebook's video push appears to work to appeal to big-name advertisers, although the Golden Boy programming won't feature any ads, per Variety. Live sports broadcasts on Facebook haven't shown any ads, although the social network has tested ad insertions into live-streaming video. The agreement with Golden Boy follows Facebook's deal to show Nitro Circus's motorcycle-flipping, skateboard-spinning and BMX-twirling spectacle. Facebook also signed a deal with Fox Sports to stream basketball games from Big3, the league co-founded by Ice Cube that pins former NBA stars in half-court games. Earlier this year, Facebook obtained the rights to show 25 Major League Baseball games, the first time a major U.S. sports organization granted the social network exclusive rights to video streaming.
Apart from its sports partnerships, Facebook has invested in Watch by funding five shows produced by major media organizations like ABC News, CNN, Fox News and Univision and three shows from lesser known outlets Alabama Media, ATTN: and Mic. For Golden Boy, the boxing promoter gets a chance to reach a potential audience of 2.2 billion people worldwide. Streaming technology is transforming the sport of boxing by giving promoters more opportunities to showcase fights, and not rely so much on premium cable networks like HBO and Showtime.