LONDON: IRONMAN, a Wanda Sports Holdings Company, has announced a multi-year partnership extension with Facebook for live and fully produced IRONMAN race coverage.
Building on fan response in 2018 (IRONMAN content on the IRONMAN Now Facebook Page drew 4.5 million engagements), the agreement calls for Facebook Watch to be the exclusive digital home of 17 live events in 2019 and increasing to 19 events in 2020, with a third-year option for 22 events in 2021. This includes full live coverage of the IRONMAN World Championship and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, as well as VOD recaps of every event broadcast on Facebook Watch. In the coming weeks, IRONMAN will announce the 2019 Facebook Watch schedule of IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events that will be featured. All coverage will be available globally on Facebook Watch via the IRONMAN Now Facebook Page.
"Participatory sports are a great fit for Facebook Watch because they're highly communal with established and engaged fanbases on our platform," said Devi Mahadevia, Facebook North America Sports Programming lead. "IRONMAN is a perfect example, so we're thrilled to build on the success of our 2018 partnership by teaming again to bring fans around the world full-length coverage of the competition's top events."
In just the first year of the Facebook partnership in 2018, IRONMAN showcased a large and engaged audience with more than 3.5 million people watching at least one minute of an IRONMAN live broadcast, while totaling 4.5 million engagements through all content posted on the IRONMAN Now Facebook Page. The engagement performance ranked among the top sports organizations programing on Facebook in 2018.
The extended agreement with Facebook provides an opportunity to accelerate the global growth of triathlon while also raising the profiles of professional triathletes. Widely known as the pinnacle of all endurance sports, the IRONMAN World Championship captured the attention of fans on Facebook Watch through more than 20 hours of comprehensive live coverage, including everything from the early morning body marking to the final hour finish line celebration.
"The partnership with Facebook has given us the unique ability to showcase our sport to a global audience while taking them inside the inner workings of race day," said Matthieu van Veen, Chief Revenue Officer of IRONMAN. "With events on every continent and in more than 50 countries, we continuously strive to provide our athletes, fans and sponsors with content and platforms to connect. Facebook Watch provides the most innovative tools to allow our community to interact and engage throughout the 10 hours of live coverage for each of the events. The numbers from our Facebook Watch programing in 2018 are astounding and illustrate the deep interest and reach of our world class events. We look forward to our continued work with Facebook in bringing a truly global schedule of live event coverage to our broadening community."
IRONMAN will produce its live coverage for a connected audience, incorporating unique viewer interaction through Facebook Watch Parties, real-time polls, fan discussion, and user generated content from spectators along the course.
The fully produced live event coverage will be hosted by past champions of IRONMAN events, including Dede Griesbauer, Rachel Joyce, Matt Lieto, and Michael Lovato, as well as IRONMAN World Champions and Hall of Famers Paula Newby Fraser and Greg Welch.
Live race coverage as well as a range of on-demand programing will be available globally via the IRONMAN Now Facebook Page.
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