In January, the World Surf League renewed its partnership with Facebook in what they called a “game-changing” deal to be the exclusive digital provider for all major WSL events in 2018 and 2019. The terms of the deal called for the social media giant to stream all elite men’s and women’s Championship Tour events, Qualifying Series 10,000 and Big Wave Tour contests, and the World Junior Championships.
However, things haven’t been smooth surfing since.
The league was forced to apologize earlier this week to fans who experienced issues watching live streams of events on Facebook. As fans have tuned in to watch the early rounds of the Corona Open J-Bay, they’ve been met with a slew of streaming issues, including being unable to watch the event at all. The organization released an apology on their site, including information on how to watch the event until the issues are resolved.
While they work with Facebook to fix the stream, WSL is offering the live stream on its desktop site. Users can watch all heat replays on their event detail page. Fans can also check the Heat Analyzer, which allows them to see every surfer’s performance in each heat, here.
The WSL also addressed concerns about low viewership caused by a number displayed in the top-left corner of the live broadcast screen. According to the statement, the number does not actually represent the total concurrent audience viewing the event. “Because we’re serving localized ads against our programming, what you’re seeing is the audience total for the regional stream that you’re connected to.” The WSL says that number is much lower than the actual number of people viewing the event. Of course, that begs an entirely different question about the point of the number, but its a question for another time.
According to the WSL, more than 13.9 million people watched a tour event on Facebook last year.