Learfield has found success using Facebook Live to connect fans, sponsors and other stakeholders.

So good, in fact, that the company plans to use the platform to broadcast content from multiple events in 2017 and beyond.

Learfield entered the live stream waters during the 2016 college football season with the Facebook Live Coach’s Corner driven by Nissan.

Each 10-minute episode featured an interview with a coach and/or athletic director from one of six schools: Iowa State University, Texas A&M University, The University of Illinois, The University of Oklahoma, University of North Carolina and the University of Miami (Florida).

The video franchise spanned 36 episodes over the football season.

The multimedia rightsholder launched the Facebook Live program to give college football fans a new way to engage coaches and other stakeholders. The platform allows fans to ask questions and drive conversations with the coaches.

“Fans drove the content—that was the premise we worked with Facebook on,” said J.R. Rudgers, Learfield director of sponsorship marketing.

Learfield offered up the program to Nissan, one of the company’s major sponsors.

“Nissan is one of our major partners and a progressive advertiser in the college landscape. We wanted to put this opportunity in front of them because we knew it would help integrate their partnership in our space.”

“Social video is such a priority for advertisers and fans expect that kind of content.”

Learfield worked with each school to produce and distribute the content. The production quality varied from school to school, with some schools producing the content on iPhones and others offering up streams with higher production values.

“We rely on our school partners to deliver the content and packaging that fans want. We helped them coordinate coaches and brand integration and let them run with production and distribution.”

Nissan’s integration into the live streams also varied from school to school. Some schools featured the Nissan logo on a TV screen behind the set, while others promoted the company on tablet tents and other graphic integration.

Learfield is working with each school to ensure the Nissan brand has a more consistent look and feel in future streams, said Rudgers, noting that the company is building a graphic template for the program.

The live streams also give the schools a new way to engage potential recruits, he added.

“The coaches and athletic directors looked at the series as a way to help promote their brand from a recruitment perspective.”

Learfield promoted the content on each school’s Facebook page, athletic department web site and radio broadcasts to drive awareness and tune-ins. The need to drive awareness was critical given the content’s live nature, said Rudgers.

“The content isn’t archived like other video platforms. We needed to have a promotional schedule wrapped around the program.”

That work paid off: the streams generated roughly five million organic and targeted impressions and an average engagement rate of 22.3 percent (consumers who liked, shared or commented on the content), significantly higher than the industry standard of three to five percent.

Based on that success, Learfield plans to live stream content from tent pole events (season kickoffs, Olympic sports, etc.) and other assets (venues, etc.) that it represents.

“We know that fans want it, and we know advertisers and partners want it. This program helped us get a good case study to take to the market.”