Budweiser helps football to make Facebook debut


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The Independent Online

Budweiser is to celebrate its sponsorship of the FA Cup this week by screening the first ever live football match on Facebook.

The match set to make sporting history is be the qualifying clash between Ascot United and Wembley FC this Friday night. The brewing giant has not ruled out potentially screening more games during the tournament.

Budweiser secured a three-year sponsorship deal of the FA Cup with the UK's Football Association in June, replacing E.ON. The contract is worth about £24m.

To celebrate the move it has built an application which will allow viewers to watch the very first kick of this year's tournament within Facebook.

While the potential audience is more than 700 million Facebook users around the world, Budweiser is forecasting 100,000 viewers for a match where the stadium capacity is just 1,150.

The beer company said it was confident of drawing a significant number of viewers as its Facebook page has almost 70,000 fans in the UK and 1.3 million in the US. The screening will highlight its presence on Facebook, as well as its football sponsorship.

Iain Newell, Budweiser's marketing director, said: "This is the first time a FA Cup tournament fixture has been broadcast live on the social network, which is great news for football fans and clubs alike."

Budweiser will not charge for the game, and it is unclear whether it may look to make money from screening games on Facebook in the future.

Several entertainment companies are experimenting with streaming their content through Facebook. The BBC announced last month it would offer series of Dr Who for rent through the social networking site, and Warner Brothers has already launched a rental service on Facebook for films including The Dark Knight.