Budweiser is to broadcast the FA Cup first round match between Ascot United and Wembley FC on its Facebook fan page, marking the first live broadcast of any sport on the social network.
The move will put the non-league sides in front of a potential audience of 700 million this Friday night.
FA Cup sponsor Budweiser brokered the deal with the teams. Facebook said that the live stream is not sponsored by, endorsed by, administered by or associated with the social networking website.
The live stream from Ascot’s 1,150-capacity ground will be made available via an application built into the US brewer’s UK Facebook page.
Budweiser marketing director Ian Newell said: “Budweiser is committed to bringing the world’s most prestigious knockout competition closer to the fans. What better way to demonstrate this than by broadcasting the very first kick to a global audience via Facebook? This is the first time an FA Cup tournament fixture has been broadcast live on the social network, which is great news for football fans and clubs alike.”
Budweiser said that the match, which kicks off at 7.45pm on Friday, will only be available to those of legal drinking age.
Viewers must be aged 18 and over and have “liked” Budweiser’s Facebook page to gain access to the free live stream.
Ascot, of the Hellenic League, take on Combined Counties side Wembley at their Racecourse Ground in one of 204 extra preliminary-round fixtures.
Wembley player-manager Ian Bates told the FA website: “We don’t pay a penny to our players but we’ve got a good side. If we play our game, we have a great chance. The FA Cup is an extremely difficult competition. You’re playing teams in leagues above who have more resources and it’s hard to progress further.”
Wembley chairman Brian Gumm added: “The revenue isn’t that important. It’s all about being in the competition and hopefully doing well.”