FOX Sports announced today a multiplatform distribution plan for the 2018 season of BIG3, a half-court, 3-on-3 basketball league co-founded by hip-hop legend Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz. Each week, a game will stream live exclusively on Facebook, leading in to three additional games, which will air exclusively on FOX or FS1 (simulcast live in the FOX Sports app) during the regular season and playoffs.
“As a start-up professional sports league, we have an innate flexibility that allows us to adapt and cater to our growing audience,” said BIG3 co-CEO Kwatinetz. “Given that our fans had an average age of more than 10 years younger than typical basketball fans, we want to provide digital viewing experiences so they can engage with our league in a format that best suits their viewing preferences. We couldn’t be more excited to work with FOX Sports and Facebook to present the BIG3 in a new and exciting format for our fans.”
Starting with the season opener in Houston on June 22, one game per week will stream live on Facebook Watch each Friday in the U.S. and globally via the ‘BIG3 on Fox’s page. Under the deal, Facebook will be treated to highlight packages and game recaps for all 37 games, including the championship scheduled to take place in Brooklyn on August 24.
“We’re proud to partner with FOX Sports to bring the excitement of live BIG3 basketball to fans on Facebook,” said Devi Mahadevia, Facebook Live Sports Programming Lead for North America. “Basketball conversation doesn’t have an offseason on our platform, so we’re excited for these social-first broadcasts to amplify this engagement over the summer and help FOX Sports bring the big names and big plays of the BIG3 to new audiences around the world.”
In addition to beefing up its live sports offering with a budget reportedly in the billions, the social media giant has recently been pushing into the eSports arena as well. In addition to inking a deal that saw all of the English language streams for ESL One events and the ESL CS:GO Pro League become exclusive to Facebook, the social media giant has increased focus on courting gaming-centric creators to its platform. Last week, the company announced several new updates to its site including a dedicated destination for gaming content.