BBC and Facebook team up to stream Wimbledon and Olympic Games

The broadcaster and social network launch a new app enabling users to watch live sporting coverage

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Today marks the first time live BBC sporting events can be streamed through social-networking site, Facebook,  using the BBC Sport app. From this morning, online users have been able to watch live coverage of a selection of six matches from the Wimbledon championships as BBC brings its summer of sport to a new platform.  

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The service allows users to stream BBC’s live televised coverage and will expand over the summer with up to 24 streams of Olympics coverage set to be made available.

Users are encouraged to interact by watching with friends who are also online and discussing the sporting action via a live-chat feature for what the BBC calls “a rich social viewing experience”. Liking streams will share them on your friends’ news feeds and the in-app Activity Stream updates in real time so you can see what your friends are watching and discover other events beyond your favourites.

The project is the first time the international broadcaster and social media site have joined forces to broadcast live events. Phil Fearnley, general manager for BBC News & Knowledge, talked of his excitement for “a really distinctive live streaming experience.”

“We hope to use it to test the benefits of social viewing, as part of our ambition to deliver more innovative and transformative experiences to sports fans,” he said.

A spokesman for Facebook added: “We are really pleased that the BBC has chosen to bring its legendary sports coverage to Facebook. Now viewers within the UK have the ability to share their favourite moments with friends and to discuss the action live as it unfolds.”

Users outside the UK are currently not able to access the feeds with the service using the same “geo-IP blocking solution” that limits access to iPlayer, according to the BBC.

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The scheme follows in the footsteps of other international broadcasters who have set up alternative streaming services to offer live coverage of the London 2012 Olympics, such as NBC’s partnership with YouTube.