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Facebook Video reaches millions via Whistle Sports at TBT Philly tourney

Who will need ESPN?

TBT -- The Basketball Tournament, sponsored by beef-jerky maker Jack Link's Protein Snacks, played by dozens of teams of wanna-be, gonna-be, has-been and gotta-watch street, ex-college and ex-NBA players at Philadelphia University's sold-out Gallagher Center, plus sites in Chicago, L.A. and Charlotte -- reached "over 1.8 million viewers" on its first weekend (July 8-10) -- plus 1.4 million more on Weekend 2 (July 15-17). Sweet 16 and quarterfinals are this weekend in Philly, finals later at Fordham in NYC.

This is the third and largest annual TBT -- and "the first real test of Facebook Video on a live, large-scale event, with multiple games all streaming at approximately the same time," according to Brian Selander, executive VP at NY-based Whistle Sports, the virtual network that brought the tournament live via Facebook and other social media.

Marrying Facebook comment and video means viewers could share, trash-talk and watch multiple games off one screen for "an integrated experience," Selander told me.

The most popular single TNT game was last Saturday, when #1-seeded City of Gods, based in Baltimore, took on #16 Dubois Dream, gaining 58,000 Views, 1.5 million "First Impressions" and a Facebook "Reach" of 876,000.

There were also teams of Philadelphia alumni for Villanova, St. Joe's, Temple, Pitt, Syracuse, and Maryland, plus retired NBA pros and overseas players.