OAHU, Hawaii, Dec. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday, millions of surf fans from across the globe tuned in to see who would become the 2015 World Surf League Champion. In what became the closest title race in history, six athletes came to Pipeline with a legitimate shot at the title. The winner – Adriano de Souza from Brazil – fought his way to the championship on the final day of competition, becoming the overall winner in the second-to-last heat of the day. It doesn't get more dramatic or unpredictable than that.
As the world's first truly digital sports league, the WSL engages with millions of fans around the world, providing them live event coverage through its free downloadable app, live webcast, traditional broadcast and personalized alerts, letting them know when the most dramatic heats are about to take place and letting fans know when their favorite surfers are about to hit the water.
Knowing that anything can happen when it comes to surfing – from 30 foot surf to waves that fail to materialize, the WSL strives to find new ways to provide fans with a unique perspective and behind-the-scenes coverage that showcases the inherent unpredictability in our sport.
The WSL partnered with Facebook Live to augment its already robust digital coverage and in the process, bring millions of additional fans to the sands of Oahu so they could watch both the freesurf and event warm-ups for the Billabong Pipe Masters. This content is not normally showcased live during WSL events, but to surfing fans, it's an incredible way for them to see even more of the sport (and the athletes) the love so much.
"One of the unique and exciting aspects of our sport is that conditions are constantly changing," said Tim Greenberg, Senior Vice President of Digital for the World Surf League. "Using that unpredictability to our advantage, and as a supplement to our broadcast, we leveraged Facebook Live to provide our fans with exclusive behind-the-scenes content directly from the beach."
Remarkably, within minutes of Adriano de Souza becoming World Champion, he was being interviewed via Facebook Live, fielding questions from ecstatic fans in his native Brazil and around the world, having a genuinely joyous interaction with his supporters. Since that interview went live on the WSL Facebook page, it has already been viewed more than 280,000 times, received over 3,000 comments and it continues to gain traction as a native VOD clip.
"Facebook Live was introduced in August 2015, and since then, thousands of athletes, musicians, politicians and other influencers have used Live to bring their fans closer to the action," said Devi Mahadevia, Strategic Partnership Lead/Global Sports Leagues for Facebook. "We are so pleased that the World Surf League was able to use our technology to celebrate their new World Champion, and in the process, become the first sports league to use the power of the technology to connect and engage with new and existing fans."
About the WSL
The mission of the World Surf League is simple: to inspire positive change for surfing, our fans, and the environment. Formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals, the WSL has been championing the world's best surfing since 1976, running global competitions across the Samsung Galaxy Men's and Women's Championship Tour, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships and producing events such as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The WSL possesses a deep appreciation for the sport's rich heritage, while promoting progression, innovation, and performance at the highest levels. We put the world's best surfers on the world's best waves.
Showcasing the best in surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has energized an already passionate global fan base with millions of fans from around the world tuning in to see athletes including Kelly Slater, Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina, Makua Rothman, Grant "Twiggy" Baker, Greg Long, Stephanie Gilmore, John John Florence, Carissa Moore and others do battle on the most dynamic and unpredictable field of play in all of sports.
SOURCE World Surf League