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ESPN to stream conference basketball tournament games on Facebook

February 29, 2012 | 10:05 am

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As March Madness approaches, ESPN will allow college basketball fans to watch its coverage of more than 200 conference tournament games on Facebook, marking the first time the sports network has provided live games for the sprawling social network.

The games will be made available on ESPN's Facebook pages beginning Thursday. Teams and conferences may also make their games available to be viewed online at ESPN3.

ESPN's move will allow the Walt Disney Co. cable network to take advantage of Facebook's platform to reach young viewers who aren't watching the games on TV.

“Our goal is to make our content available to fans where they want it," said Matt Murphy, senior vice president of digital video distribution for ESPN. "The timing made sense as well. Fans already spend time catching up with friends on Facebook -- and now they can watch games without leaving that environment. It’s a great way for us to reach our fans and increase awareness and usage of ESPN3.”

Millions of people who receive ESPN3 through their Internet providers can watch the games at no additional cost. The same is true for Time Warner Cable subscribers who already pay to receive the programming on TV.

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-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

Photo: Duke University basketball fans taunt Luke Loucks #3 of the Florida State Seminoles at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 21, 2012 in Durham, North Carolina. Credit: Grant Halverson / Getty Images

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