In Facebook’s early days the company planned a national beer pong tournament, but then cancelled it out of fear it would promote underage drinking. Tomorrow, that dream will be revived in a new way when social video and ecommerce company Milyoni streams The World Series of Beer Pong through its Facebook app. For 50 Facebook Credits/$5 PayPal pre-sale or 70/$7 once the games begin, viewers can tune in to all the boozy action from doubles to rebuttals. The stream could demonstrate whether live sports could work as Facebook pay-per-view programming.
For those scratching their heads, yes, some people take throwing ping pong balls into red cups of beer very seriously. Enough to spend all day practicing to compete for the $50,000 World Series grand prize. The game’s a popular spectator sport at colleges, but only amongst people waiting to play next. I doubt there’ll be a huge turnout for this streaming event.
For Milyoni it may be more about seeing if sports drama drives use of the social features baked into its video player. Viewers will be able to leave timed comments, chat live with others watching, and possibly share clips with friends. While one team sinking the final cup might not be huge news, it could show if users would want to share clips of a boxing match knockout to the news feed. The TV Free Media stream carried by Milyoni will be accessible from the web, smartphones, and tablets.
The event is also a milestone for Facebook’s virtual currency Credits, through which the social network will earn a 30% cut of any Milyoni user that pays with Credits. While Milyoni has previously been used for streaming concerts and movies, sports is the premier vertical for pay-per-view. Major League Baseball briefly tested streaming games over Facebook, but it’s social features weren’t up to snuff.
If the Milyoni stream of the World Series of Beer Pong fares well, it could encourage more sports leagues to license their content for Facebook streaming. One day, you might be able to watch big boxing matches, mixed martial arts fights, pro wrestling, or soccer matches on Facebook pay-per-view. This would create a significant virtual goods and services revenue stream for Facebook beyond social games.
Those who want to buy streaming access to BPONG’s World Series Of Beer Pong VII can visit BPONG’s Facebook Page. The games begin at 2pm PST on January 4th, 2011.
[Featured Image Credit: Josh Constine's final Anthropology 101 paper]