By Sahil Patel
While most consider Twitter to be the default “social TV” platform when it comes to content and conversations tied to TV programming, Facebook has been actively courting networks and producers to use its platform to engage viewers before, during, and after a broadcast.
This weekend, the social network will be the social hub of choice for anyone who wants to follow what’s happening during “WrestleMania.”
Facebook has partnered with WWE to provide exclusive content before, during, and after the event. This includes clips — using Facebook’s improved native video player, of course — of ring entrances, match highlights, interviews, locker room commentary, and training videos, which will be shared on the social network throughout the weekend.
As part of the deal, WWE on-air announcers during the telecast will also encourage viewers to check Facebook for the latest content.
The WWE’s top annual event, the 31st edition of “WrestleMania” will take place Sunday, March 29 from Levi Stadium in San Francisco.
“Social TV,” while mostly a silly idea, has a lot of potential when it comes to live sports and other tentpole broadcast events. It’s not difficult to imagine similar deals for Facebook with media partners such as sports leagues and networks and broadcasters responsible for airing awards shows like the Oscars and Emmys.
For a long time, Twitter has been the go-to destination for people watching such content to engage with others about what’s happening on their TV screen. That could change if Facebook offers video clips and other exclusive content that users can then easily share with their friends. It already has a distribution deal — though not exclusive — with the NFL to share game highlights and other relevant videos.
Twitter, for what it’s worth, is also actively securing deals with sports leagues and rights-holders to be a platform where users can easily access, watch, and share video content. It has deals with the likes of NBA and ESPN, among others.
But for anyone who wants to see grown men through each other over ropes and turnbuckles this Sunday night, Facebook — or the WWE Network, or your PPV provider — will be the place.