Always intending to improve fan experience, DFL has started to break ground with a bold new initiative. For the first time ever, a Bundesliga match was streamed live on Facebook, when ELEVEN SPORTS aired the encounter between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Bayern München exclusively on the social media giant’s platform for ELEVEN SPORTS viewers in Poland. The match marked the beginning of the second leg of the 2017-18 league campaign.
Bundesliga matches attract strong followership in neighbouring Poland, and the live stream allowed for the league, the clubs, and the television network to engage closely with the fan base during the match through immediate feedback, such as comments and likes. Many fans were thrilled with the opportunity to watch the match on social media, and viewers applauded the high quality of the streaming feed. ELEVEN SPORTS registered more than half a million Facebook views (excluding other online service users) in addition to over 250,000 viewers following the match on linear service, Eleven Sports 1. This is a remarkable increase in combined overall viewership, compared to the network’s current TV audience record in Poland for Bundesliga broadcasts, when 420,000 viewers tuned in for “Der Klassiker” between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern München in November 2017.
“For Bundesliga as an innovation leader in the field of sports, digitalisation plays a key role,” said Robert Klein, Chief Executive Officer of Bundesliga International. “Digital platforms and social media channels are providing us with new, effective tools that we use to distribute Bundesliga’s high appeal in the global market via inspiring content. With the Facebook Live stream through our partner ELEVEN SPORTS, we were able to enthuse an increasing number of football fans in Poland with the Bundesliga.”
Danny Menken, Group Managing Director for award-winning global sports provider ELEVEN SPORTS, pointed out the importance of social media as part of an inclusive fan experience across borders. “We are very pleased to achieve such strong numbers with our first experiment on Facebook Live in Poland,” said Krzysztof Swiergiel, Managing Director, ELEVEN SPORTS in Poland. “Our aim is to reach new and diverse audiences outside of our usual viewers, and we were able to attract the attention of many people, despite the absence of Polish star player Robert Lewandowski, who missed the match due to an injury. We are looking forward to learning more from this experience as we continue to innovate in the way we deliver our content to the fans.”