Facebook seals exclusive World Surf League partnership

Social media platform Facebook has sealed an exclusive digital partnership with the World Surf League.

The deal will run for two years, until the end of 2019. The Forbes business news website, citing industry sources, said that the deal could be worth up to $30m (€24m) over the two years.

Under the agreement, Facebook will show live coverage of the league’s events, including all elite men’s and women’s Championship Tour events, the Qualifying Series 10,000 and Big Wave Tour events, as well as the World Junior Championships.

Last year, Facebook had a non-exclusive agreement with the league, with Championship Tour and Big Wave Tour events being simulcast on the social media website and through the WSL’s official website and mobile app.

Sophie Goldschmidt, WSL chief executive, said: “This is game-changing for the sport in many ways and, with current and new fans front of mind, we can retain the free offering to fans, and it allows us to deliver the world's best surfing to even more people on Facebook's platform.”

Nearly 14 million people watched a WSL event on Facebook last year, with the top three countries in terms of unique viewers coming from the US, Brazil and Mexico.