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Facebook's (FB) Watch to Get Exclusive Shows From FOX Sports

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Facebook (FB - Free Report) is expanding its presence in the sports streaming space. The social-media giant and Fox (FOXA - Free Report) division Fox Sports recently inked a partnership, per which the latter will provide sports-related digital shows and content to Facebook Watch.

New shows lined up on Facebook Watch include the FOX Football Sunday program, which also covers NFL games that will be streamed on the network the following Monday morning. Facebook users will get a chance to ask questions to show hosts.

Fox Football Update show can be viewed on Sunday nights. Additionally, sports fans will also enjoy The People vs Colin Cowherd featuring Jason McIntyre and Colin Cowherd, which will be available on Facebook Watch three days a week.

Moreover, FOX Sports shows will also showcase exclusive segments from FOX Liga MX, covering the top domestic soccer league in Mexico with Ricardo Munguia and Raoul ‘Pollo’ Ortiz on a weekly format. The show also covers previous week’s results and previews for future matches.

Fox shows like Big East basketball (2019-’20 season), NASCAR, Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and the upcoming Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) season from other sports such as basketball, boxing, soccer, and bowling are expected to diversify Facebook’s sports-related content portfolio.

Competition Intensifying in Live Sports Streaming

Solid growth prospects in the online sports streaming space is attracting major tech and media players, including Facebook, Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) , Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) , YouTube and Disney.

Per eMarketer report, revenues from sports digital media rights will grow 11.5%, in the next three to five years, much faster than traditional TV rights.

Moreover, according to the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg and ThePostGame, 56% of sports fans would pay more for online streaming than for traditional TV channels. Further, 63% of sports fans are interested in paying for an all-sports over-the-top channel.

FOX Sports is the latest to offer sports content for Facebook Watch. Both NFL and ESPN have recently announced plans to bring their content to Facebook Watch, including video versions of NFL podcasts.

Facebook’s rights to stream La Liga matches in India and Premier League soccer matches in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam between 2019 and 2022 are key catalysts.

Additionally, ESPN shows slated for Facebook Watch include The People’s MMA Show, Countdown to GameDay, Fantasy Focus Live and additional content from Always Late with Katie Nolan.

This is expected to help Facebook solidify its presence in the rapidly growing online sports streaming space.

However, other players are also strengthening sports content and partnerships.

Apart from deals with NFL to stream Thursday Night Football, Amazon has also launched MLB.TV on Prime Video Channels for Prime members in the United States. Moreover, Amazon Prime Video live streams AVP league and the Laver Cup tennis tournament.

Meanwhile, Disney’s sports-focused streaming service ESPN+ has gained solid traction, primarily owing to content strength. The service streams MLB, NHL and MLS games, Grand Slam tennis, boxing, PGA Tour golf, college sports, international rugby, and cricket, among others.

Furthermore, Twitter has expanded its presence in the sports streaming space by partnering with ESPN, NFL, WarnerMedia, The Players’ Tribune and MLS.

Nevertheless, Facebook’s deal with Fox Sports is a win-win for both. While the partnership will help Fox Sports reach a wider audience, exclusive shows from one of the top producers of sports-related content are likely to improve user engagement for Facebook Watch.

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