The Denver Broncos have been experimenting using Facebook Live. It posted videos of player interviews during Super Bowl Week in February and found they received between 10,000 and 80,000 views. When it streamed Peyton Manning’s retirement announcement on Facebook Live, the Broncos found they had a captive audience. To date, that video of Manning’s retirement has had almost a million views, 980,000 to date.

Facebook Live is just in its infancy, but appears that sports teams are embracing the format. MLB teams have been encouraged to use it and college teams are using it as well. Arkansas-Little Rock live streamed its celebration after winning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, then posted a video of its selection in the NCAA Tournament.

As for the Broncos, they have a rather large following on Facebook and posting videos is a way for the team to interact with their fans and keeping them up to date on what they’re doing in the offseason:

It also helps that the Broncos are the sixth-most-followed NFL-oriented Facebook page, with more than 4.3 million fans. The audience is also engaged. According to Hunt, the Broncos saw more than 40 million engagements (likes, comments and shares) from August to February. The team puts up an average of 18 Facebook posts per day.

By expanding its video platform, Facebook is hoping to become a destination for sports fans to watch not just short videos, but also live programming. It’s a major reason why its bidding for the online contract to stream NFL Thursday Night Football and hopes its Sports Stadium can be a true destination for fans. But if the Super Bowl is any indication, the feature will need some work.

Facebook is already the largest social media network and its Facebook Live feature  is getting hotter with sports teams. If the views increase for big events like Peyton Manning’s retirement, then Facebook may be on to something with a marketing tool that teams and leagues can use in getting closer to their fans.

And if it gets connected with actual live sporting events, then it could be a feature that advertisers will have to pay attention. Right now, teams and leagues are figuring out what works and what doesn’t and what comes next will be quite interesting.

[Digiday]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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