• Loading stock data...
Friday, February 23, 2024

Inside the World Surf League’s “Digital First” Broadcasting Stream

The World Surf League has partnered with Facebook Live. Photo via Tav Calico.

The World Surf League has partnered with Facebook Live. Photo via Tav Calico

As a Clevelander, I am not normally exposed to the world of professional surfing. Believe it or not, the shores of Lake Erie are not exactly conducive to catching major swells — kite surfing during the windy weather maybe. After traveling to Hawaii on a family vacation and seeing how popular the sport is, as well as taking a surfing lesson, it is apparent why so many enjoy the sport.

When going to eat at local restaurants, instead of watching SportsCenter or a basketball game, surfing competitions are broadcast for patrons. While people on the mainland might follow any of the four major professional sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL) closely, a league that most might not be aware of is the World Surf League.

Unlike its mainland, more popular counterparts, the World Surf League flies under the radar in a variety of aspects. First, it acts as a niche league of sorts — only those who are very in tune with professional surfers and the sport are likely to know about it. Second, in a move seemingly unique to the league, the league has collaborated with Facebook to become a “digital first” organization.

Want more great content like this? Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter!

According to Mark Burns of SportTechie, the league has to be digital first, by default, based on how the events rely on wave patterns and weather conditions. Due to the fickle nature of the weather and wave patterns, although every day seems like paradise in Hawaii and other locations as to where the league holds competitions, it is next to impossible to create a normal broadcast schedule like that of other professional leagues.

Facebook made waves (no pun intended) in the sports industry over the past year or so with signing partnerships with leagues to broadcast select games and events via Facebook Live. Over the past few weeks, the social platform has struck a deal with the MLB to stream a few innings of select Spring Training games and is reportedly working on a deal with the league to stream full regular-season games. Additionally, Facebook has agreed to carry 46 Liga MX (Mexican soccer) games and NBA D-League games.

The World Surf League followed suit. After experimenting with Facebook Live, the two parties agreed to a partnership to stream every WSL event on the platform this year. According to the league’s website, “Fans can now watch all the action in real time on the WSL Facebook Page. All Championship Tour events and Big Wave tour events will be broadcast live, enabling followers to experience the sport’s top moments together.”

According to WSL’s Chief Community Officer, Tim Greenberg:

“As a truly digital-first league, streaming the entirety of our season on Facebook speaks to the pioneering nature of our sport. With Facebook’s scale, we can better serve even more fans by bringing the magic and drama of professional surfing directly to their feeds. It’s an incredible opportunity to be at the forefront of sports media distribution.”

Social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) have been venturing more and more into live streaming sporting events. This past NFL season, Twitter made headlines by agreeing to a deal with the NFL to live stream Thursday Night Football games.

For the average fan, these games were often difficult to watch as they were mostly broadcast on the NFL Network. Now, however, fans could stream the games from anywhere with an Internet connection via mobile device, tablet or computer.

As more and more people and companies take part in “cord cutting,” the competition to secure live streaming deals is heating up.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

A former NBA employee posted to the league's Facebook account to voice labor discontent.

Former NBA Employee Calls Out League for Poor Pay, Benefits

The NBA’s Facebook page had a deleted post about labor issues.
Messi brings instant impact to anything he touches.

Inter Miami Now Outpaces Every NFL, MLB, and NHL Team on Instagram

Inter Miami has more Instagram followers than all NFL, MLB teams.

Historic Rise of Threads Creates Big Questions For Sports

The meteoric rise of Meta’s Threads has presented a pressing dilemma for sports properties

With Threads, Meta Challenges Twitter’s Grip on Sports

One of the leading tools for sports fan engagement now has competition.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

How the Negro Leagues Are Staying in the Game


Featured Today

Sabrina-Steph Wasn’t the ‘Battle of the Sexes’—But It Was Part of the Bigger War

The competition could play a factor in increasing the WNBA’s media value.
NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23), in a Star Wars rebel alliance X-wing fighter pilot-inspired race suit, motions to the crowd to get louder during the driver introductions for the Cup Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale on Nov. 5, 2023.
February 17, 2024

Celebrity Owners, International Ambitions, and $7B Media Deals: Welcome to the New NASCAR

NASCAR boldly keeps pace with the increasingly competitive sports and entertainment world.
February 16, 2024

Wilson Introduced an Airless Basketball for $2,500. We Had Questions

The black, 3D-printed ball appeared in last year’s Slam Dunk Contest.
Emily Henegar, a baker and content creator, made a batch of NFL-inspired cookies featuring Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce.
February 11, 2024

The ‘Life-Changing’ Economy of Taylor Swift’s NFL Outfits

Appearing in Swift’s game-day wardrobe has been “life-changing” for small businesses.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Finance Manager
New York, NY
Senior Technical Artist - Sports Technology
EA Sports
Orlando, FL
Assistant Manager, Affiliate Operations
Portland, OR
Drew Brees smiling while wearing hat

Drew Brees, PointsBet Pull Off Elaborate Lightning Publicity Stunt

The video racked up over 2 million views in about 12 hours.
al michaels and kirk hergstreit
September 15, 2022

Amazon’s Advertising Blitz Ahead Of First ‘Thursday Night Football’

‘Thursday Night Football’ has launched massive marketing takeover ahead of Chiefs-Chargers.
September 16, 2022

NBA Legend Scottie Pippen Latest Celebrity To Endorse LIV Golf

The former Chicago Bull is part of LIV’s celebrity marketing campaign.

Live Sports Are Now High-Tech Experiences

Oracle is leading the technology revolution happening in stadiums across the world.
June 21, 2022

NBA Finals Broke Records on Social Media

The NBA closed out the season with a bang on social media, eclipsing 2 billion video plays for a 19% increase over last year.
June 21, 2022

Gallo Winery Could Be New Player For Super Bowl Spots

Anheuser-Busch is giving up Super Bowl alcohol exclusivity for first in decades. NFL sponsor E. & J. Gallo Winery might step up with own commercials in the Big Game.
June 13, 2022

NBA’s Latest Floating Court Hits London’s River Thames

Hennessy continued their global initiative with the NBA by creating a floating court in the River Thames.
June 13, 2022

Steph Curry Is NBA’s Social Media King

Steph Curry isn’t only dominating on the court, he’s become the king of the NBA’s social and digital push.