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ESPN Inks Facebook Deal to Bring Exclusive Shows and Content to Watch Service

Disney’s ESPN is looking to expand digital reach across Facebook, under a new deal to distribute exclusive digital shows and content on the social giant’s Facebook Watch video platform.

At launch, ESPN’s Facebook Watch lineup includes additional segments from “Always Late With Katie Nolan,” the late-night sports/comedy show premiering this week on ESPN2; exclusive versions of college-football “Countdown to GameDay” and “Fantasy Focus Live,” and “The People’s MMA Show,” a weekly series about mixed martial arts fighters.

With the new content, ESPN will engage with fans through the Facebook Watch platform via Watch Parties, polls, or live talent Q&As.

“We are extending some of our most popular ESPN shows and creating new ones with content available only on Facebook and Facebook Watch,” said Ryan Spoon, ESPN’s SVP of digital and social content. “This allows us to connect with fans and drive the conversation around sports in a way that leverages what we and the platform do best.”

Added Rob Shaw, Facebook’s head of league and media sports partnerships: “ESPN produces world-class content, so we have no doubt that these shows will inspire the type of conversation and connection that makes Facebook Watch a unique way to experience sports.”

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ESPN will deliver exclusive segments from “Always Late With Katie Nolan,” providing the Emmy-winning host’s perspective on the biggest news in sports. The show makes its linear TV debut this Thursday (Sept. 26) at 12:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

“Countdown to GameDay” on Facebook Watch is a pre-pregame companion show for ESPN’s Saturday “College GameDay” that will feature one of ESPN’s college football analysts and reporters on site throughout the college football season.

Facebook Watch also will include “Fantasy Focus Live,” a video version of ESPN’s popular fantasy sports podcast with experts Matthew Berry, Field Yates, Stephania Bell and Daniel Dopp providing player previews, injury reports, game overviews and strategies, as well as interviews with featured guests, throughout the NFL season. The exclusive version of the show on Facebook Watch will solicit fan questions and opinions.

Finally, in the all-new weekly show “The People’s MMA Show,” journalist Ariel Helwani explores the connection between the stories MMA fighters tell about their achievements inside the cage and their lives and passions outside of fighting. The show will incorporate viewer submissions, interactive polls, and live Q&As on the ESPN MMA Facebook page.

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