First Facebook Live stream of a major tennis match demonstrates potential

Andy Murray, the three-time Grand Slam, two-time Olympic champion and current Wimbledon champion, broke new ground last week becoming the first tennis star to stream a major match live on Facebook. The live stream of Andy Murray’s inaugural charity event Andy Murray Live, which was managed by online video production and distribution platform Grabyo, demonstrated the enormous potential of Facebook Live for the sport with over a million people viewing the stream.

Murray played a three-set match against Grigor Dimitrov, before teaming up with his brother Jamie in a doubles match against Dimitrov and Tim Henman, in what will become an annual charity event in Scotland.

Not only did 10,000 people enjoy the game in the stands at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow but Sky Sports also broadcast the event live on TV to those in UK and Ireland. By live streaming the game on Facebook, Andy Murray also ensured tennis fans around the world could enjoy the event.

“We made the decision to stream the Andy Murray Live event live on Facebook so that Andy’s fans worldwide would have the opportunity to engage with the event. We are also interested in driving innovation around the event and Andy’s social media channels and viewed this as a good platform to do that,” commented Matt Gentry at 77 Group. “By using Grabyo we were able to ensure there were no problems with the quality or performance of the live stream and the level of engagement was impressive.”

Facebook Live allows users to broadcast live video streams onto the platform, with streams appearing in the News Feed. Live broadcasts are automatically saved as a video post to the streamer’s page. In April 2016, Facebook unveiled a live streaming API allowing users to benefit from media partner solutions including Grabyo’s online video production and distribution software. By working with Grabyo, sports rights holders can ensure optimal quality, geographic rights restrictions and high resilience streams as well as benefit from a number of live editing features including real-time clip sharing, branded content monetisation and multi-platform distribution – which drives additional audience for the live stream.

“Facebook Live is proving to be a highly effective way of engaging global digital audiences and we’re seeing huge interest from a whole variety of rights holders all over the world,” comments Gareth Capon, CEO at Grabyo. “We’ve enjoyed helping Andy Murray break new ground in this first for a major tennis match and we look forward to working with other tennis rights holders to capitalise on this exciting new live channel. Global sports stars have a direct connection with their audience on Facebook which makes them a valuable channel for content distribution.”

Andy Murray Live is LIVE!

It's time! The players are out on court for an evening of entertainment and high quality tennis live from the heart of Glasgow in aid of UNICEF UK and Young Peoples Futures.Text ANDY to 70111 to donate £3 with all proceeds going directly to the charities.Thanks for your support, and enjoy the match!

Posted by Andy Murray on Wednesday, 21 September 2016

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Toby Marriott
Toby Marriott 91 posts

Toby is an Account Executive at Snack Media and Editor of Digital Sport. Follow him on Twitter @TobyMarriott

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