But no panic! Webcast still lives on the WSL site, at least for a little longer…
Earlier today, the WSL announced they’d signed a two-year exclusive broadcast rights deal with Facebook.
All of the WSL’s big events, the men’s and women’s WCTs, the big-wavers, the WQS 10,000s and the World Juniors. Facebook has got ’em.
“This is game-changing for the sport in many ways and, with current and new fans front of mind, we can retain the free offering to fans, and it allows us to deliver the world’s best surfing to even more people on Facebook’s platform,” said the company’s lovely, if non-surfing, CEO Sophie Goldschmidt.
“We’re excited to help WSL continue to serve and grow this vibrant community and usher in a new era of surf broadcasting on Facebook Watch (the company’s US-only video platform),” Facebook’s Head of Global Sports Partnerships, Dan Reed said.
Which means, eventually, you’re going to have to sign up for a Facebook account, along with all its voyeuristic time-wasting and addictive stalking, to watch WCT events.
But not just yet.
“When the live experience is as good or better then there’ll be full migration to the the Facebook platform,” the WSL’s gloriously titled Senior Vice President of Global Brand Identity, Dave Prodan told BeachGrit. “Before that, it exists on the WSL platform.”
Prodan said there’s no time-frame on when it’ll become Facebook only, “Suffice to say that the current product is sophisticated. Facebook have talented developers so we’re excited to see what they come up with.”
Did Facebook cough up a little cash in the deal?
“It’s a media rights deal so a revenue component as well as promotion across the two-billion person platform. The WSL rights are very in demand.”
Of course, a Facebook-only broadcast kills the fun when your progressive workplace stiffs FB during operating hours, and only opens the gate for an hour at lunch.
If you live in Australia and have become panicked that Fox Sports won’t be running WCT events, you can relax. This is a digital-rights deal only.
“Linear broadcast ala Fox Sports in Australia won’t be affected,” said Prodan.