The 2016 World Series was one for the record books, as the Chicago Cubs outlasted the Cleveland Indians in dramatic fashion to capture their first title in 108 years. Highlighted by a tense, extra-inning Game 7 thriller, this Fall Classic lived up to its name — and the conversation on Facebook reflected that. 33 million people had more than 150 million Facebook interactions related to the 2016 World Series (October 25 – November 2).
Major League Baseball, as well as the Cubs, Indians, select players and sports media, used Facebook during the series to connect and engage with this audience.
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball used Facebook Live during the World Series to deliver pregame analysis and postgame reaction, as well as take fans behind the scenes. Prior to each game, MLB went live with studio host/reporter Tim McMaster and former players Jeff Nelson and Jack Morris to preview the night’s action. MLB also went live for the painting of the World Series logo at Progressive Field, batting practice, chats with celebrity fans Al Roker and Vince Vaughn, and country music star Hunter Hayes’ national anthem soundcheck prior to Game 6. In addition, the league broadcast pregame and postgame press conferences via Facebook Live, enabling fans to hear the full remarks from players and managers.
Both teams used Facebook to bring their fans closer to the action, with the Indians going live for their ALCS Championship clubhouse celebration just before the World Series, and the Cubs closing things out with a dramatic recap of their historic championship. The Cubs also went live to broadcast their World Series parade in Chicago, allowing fans around the world to join the festivities. Meanwhile, Cubs players shared their emotions on Facebook, as Dexter Fowler and Javier Baez each posed with the World Series trophy, while Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward posted photos of the postgame celebration.
FOX Sports produced for both the first and second screen during the World Series, posting more than 20 Facebook Lives to engage with fans before, during and after each game. MLB on FOX started its daily coverage with an exclusive Facebook Live show branded by State Farm. Hosted by reporters Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci, the show included features, interviews with players, conversations with the FOX broadcast crew, and Q&As with fans. MLB on FOX continued its pregame coverage on Facebook by going live to give fans a front-row seat to the Star-Spangled Banner, ceremonial first pitches, and starting pitcher bullpen sessions.
One of baseball’s grandest traditions happens during the 7th-inning stretch at Wrigley Field, as special guests lead the crowd in the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” MLB on FOX went live for each rendition in Chicago, as Bill Murray, Vince Vaughn and Eddie Vedder all provided their unique takes on the classic song.
Finally, starting in the late innings, MLB on FOX went live to show fans in both Cleveland and Chicago agonizing over the final outs and celebrating their teams’ victories. The broadcasts integrated fan comments and included live look-ins both inside and outside the ballparks and in neighboring sports bars.
While FOX Sports was the sole broadcast partner for the World Series, other sports media also shared unique content on Facebook. For Game 7, Barstool Sports went live for four hours, allowing fans to watch the deciding contest alongside their favorite Barstool personalities. Meanwhile, ESPN Baseball Tonight went live to show the scene outside Wrigley Field after the Cubs’ Game 6 victory, and then produced a 360 video from the same location after Chicago captured the title the following evening. A number of outlets also went live from Wrigleyville to broadcast the Game 7 celebration, including CNN and BuzzFeed.