Facebook eyes sports for its next push in online events

A pay-per-view-like option for sports leagues wouldn’t be out of the question, apparently.

The next sports event you watch may be on Facebook.

The social network launched its paid online events product last summer, inviting some people running Facebook pages to use tools designed to create, promote, host and monetize virtual live events. Since launch, event hosts have received 100% of revenue from ticket sales through Facebook Pay. However, that is set to expire in August, after which Facebook may take a cut.

Facebook is reportedly targeting smaller leagues and sports events since the top sports leagues — such as the National Football League and National Basketball Association — are restricted by broadcast media rights. The social network sees potential for monetizing things outside of games, such as team practices or behind-the-scenes videos, Shaw told CNBC.

A Facebook spokesperson on Wednesday said the company’s paid online events feature is available to all publishers, and sports is one area where it’s being adopted.

Sony-made MLB The Show 21 is coming to Xbox Game Pass at launch

Sony’s new Xbox game will be on Microsoft’s subscription service.

MLB The Show 21 is coming to Xbox Game Pass at launch.

Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s video game subscription service that offers access to over 100 games on its consoles and PCs. The base price is $10 per month for just the games access on either console or PC. Those who also want Xbox Live Gold for multiplayer gaming, EA Play for Electronic Arts games and the ability to play on phones and tablets through Cloud Gaming (plus access to both the console and PC versions of the service) can subscribe to Game Pass Ultimate for $15 per month.

The move is the latest in Microsoft’s efforts to build out its Game Pass library, particularly for sports gamers. Last month the company added 2K’s NBA 2K21 to its regular Game Pass offering, as well as EA Sports’ Madden 21 and NHL 21 to its Ultimate roster through the EA Play deal.

What makes Friday’s announcement surprising, however, is that unlike those titles, The Show 21 is made by Microsoft-rival Sony’s PlayStation Studios. With the ability to get it on Game Pass, the new game is more widely accessible on Xbox than it is on Sony’s own PlayStation 4 and PS5. The addition of Cloud Gaming support also means that, at least for now, the only way to play The Show 21 on the go appears to be on Xbox as Sony has long ceased making its own portable consoles, such as the PlayStation Portable and PS Vita.

As for what is behind this move, a statement from Sony places the spotlight on MLB.

“As part of the goal for this year’s game, MLB decided to bring the franchise to more players and baseball fans,” the company says. “This decision provides a unique opportunity to further establish MLB The Show as the premier brand for baseball video games.”

UFC 269 Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier: Start time, how to watch or stream online

UFC 268 is an absolute gem of a car, with two title fights.

Many consider Poirier the uncrowned champ.

But UFC 269 runs deep. Rising star Sean O’Malley features, Cody Garbrandt makes his flyweight debut and we have a host of compelling match ups all the through to the early prelims. Make no mistake, this Saturday is MMA Christmas.

Here’s everything you need to know.

The UFC 269 main card starts at 10 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. PDT) on Nov. 6. Here are all the details from multiple time zones.

The UFC now has a partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially, if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 269, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site:

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 269 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 269 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.

Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN to change your IP address to access those US, UK or Australian options listed above. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

As always, these cards are subject to change. We’ll keep this as up-to-date as possible.

Field of Dreams game: Watch Kevin Costner’s spine-tingling intro speech

They built it and Costner came out of the corn for real at this memorable MLB baseball game between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox.

Kevin Costner on the Field of Dreams at the first MLB game in Iowa, August 2021.

Inspired by the 1989 movie, Major League Baseball built a temporary 8,000-seat ballpark at the farm in Dyersville, Iowa, where the movie was filmed. The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox played a real professional MLB game Thursday.

So who won? Under the beautiful Iowa night sky, Tim Anderson capped the ninth inning by smashing one of the game’s several home runs into the cornfield, winning the game 9-8 for the White Sox.

The game was postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the event and its opening ceremony had an extra poignancy as an opportunity for 7,832 people to gather and enjoy the simple pleasure of a ballgame.

The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox emerge from the corn onto the Field of Dreams.

Written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson and based on the novel Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella, the Oscar-nominated Field of Dreams starred Costner as a farmer who hears voices in his head telling him to plow his cornfield into a baseball diamond. The cornfield-ballfield attracts the spirits of baseball players involved in World Series match-fixing in the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal.

The MLB has promised a return to Iowa in 2022, although the current disruption caused by the delta variant is a stark warning that the pandemic is far from over.

The Staples Center will be renamed Crypto.com Arena

Crypto continues to elbow its way into major-league sponsorships.

With just 16% of the US population using or investing in cryptocurrency, the name change may come as a shock to many sports fans — and players. When Clippers point guard Reggie Jackson was told of the change, he responded, “What?”

But this name change is only the most recent example of a cryptocurrency exchange launching the type of high-profile promotional effort previously undertaken by traditional financial services and Fortune 500 corporations. The Miami Heat now play in FTX Arena, named for another crypto exchange (that is also the official cryptocurrency exchange of Major League Baseball). And FTX has purchased ad time during the upcoming Super Bowl.

The new logo for the Crypto.com Arena will debut on Christmas Day this year, when the Lakers face off against the Brooklyn Nets. The arena’s signage is scheduled to be completely replaced with the new name by June 2022.

Conor McGregor speaks after freak leg injury in loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264

“Feeling tremendous,” said McGregor, after emerging from a three hour surgery.

This will be the third contest between McGregor and Poirier.

“This is not over,” said McGregor, in a post fight interview with Joe Rogan. ‘If I have to take this outside with him, it’s on outside. I don’t give a bollocks.”

Dana White stated that McGregor would be going into surgery tomorrow on Sunday to deal with the leg injury. He said that a title fight with current UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira was most likely next for Poirier, but believes that a fourth fight between McGregor and Poirier will happen at some point in the future, when McGregor has recovered from the surgery.

Audie Attar, McGregor’s long time manager recently said McGregor underwent a successful three hour surgery, repairing fractures of the tibia and fibula.

“Both doctors are confident that with time he will make a full recovery,” he said in a statement. “We anticipate his return to the Octagon.”

McGregor himself posted a video message on social media soon afterwards.

“Feeling tremendous,” said McGregor. “Six weeks on crutches and we build back!”

Find our blow by blow account of each fight below.

The stakes are high for Conor McGregor in this trilogy fight against Dustin Poirier.

It’s here. The big one. The stakes for this fight seem incredibly high for McGregor, but they always do. Every single fight.

As I mentioned above, it’s almost impossible to call this fight. I’m picking McGregor because he appeared to be winning the last fight until he wasn’t. But honestly, it could go the exact same way as the last fight.

Got the butterflies for this one. Let’s go.

Round 1

Man this is intense. McGregor looks amped, the opposite of relaxed, which is when he does his best work. Let’s see how this plays out.

McGregor coming out leg kick heavy. The fight is being fought at a furious pace. Poirier somehow clips McGregor and takes it to the ground after McGregor attempts a guillotine choke. After a barrage of ground and pound the fight goes back to the feet and after an exchange McGregor rolls his ankle

And it looks as though he’s broken his ankle? The doctor calls it. The fight is over.

Wow. What a strange ending.

McGregor is furious. He’s screaming “Doctor’s stoppage”.

Regardless of the result, McGregor was losing this fight comprehensively. It was called a doctor’s stoppage in the end. Afterwards, Joe Rogan conducted an interview with McGregor as he was getting his leg attended to. He claimed this was “not over”. But realistically, it’s hard to tell when McGregor will be back — if he’ll be back. Poirier made reference to karma playing a part here, given how low McGregor stooped in the lead up.

There was a real poisonous atmosphere to this whole scene. Reminded me a lot of the Khabib vs. McGregor fight. Left a bad taste in my mouth.

Dustin Poirier wins via doctor’s stoppage

I’m really looking forward to this one. Stephen Thompson is maybe the best technical striker the UFC has even seen, Gilbert Burns is a jiu-jitsu specialist with hammers for hands. The winner of this fight will almost certainly get a title shot at some point in the future.

I’m picking Thompson here. He’s one of the most difficult, unique fighters on the roster and he’s outclassed almost everyone he’s faced in the Octagon.

Can’t wait.

Round 1

Can’t blog anymore did a drinking game where I take a shot every time Joe Rogan says “karate style” and I’m dead.

Burns appears to be trying to take this to the ground, which is smart, but Thompson has great takedown defence. A lot of the early part of this round is taking place on the fence. Not really great for either fighter.

And of course the crowd is booing.

But wow — surprise — Burns got it to the ground. This could steal him the round and make Thompson a little more hesitant to through his world class kicks.

Wonderboy eventually gets back to his feet, but a strong round for Burns here.

CNET scores it 10-9 for Burns

Round 2

A frantic 2nd round fought on a hair trigger. Really tough one to score. Thompson appeared to control the fight on the feet, but Burns snagged a takedown in the last thirty seconds, which could have stolen him the round. Hard to say. I think Thompson, but who knows.

CNET scores it 10-9 for Thompson

Round 3

Good start for Thompson, with a stinging straight over the top.

Whoa… Thompson clips him with a SWEET wheel kick that almost knocks Burns off his feet. Unreal. Thought we might get a finish, but Burns appears to recover. Now he’s got Thompson to the mat. Can Thompson get back to his feet? He’s running out of time here and Burns has got side control now. This looks bad for Thompson.

CNET scores it 10-9 for Burns and 29-28 for Burns overall.

Official decision: Gilbert Burns defeats Stephen Thompson by decision (29-28 on all three scorecards)

Oh man, nothing like a heavyweight slobberknocker. Tai Tuivasa, is famous for his victory shoeys (a shoey is when you drink beer out of a stranger’s shoe, after the stranger has spat in it — yes, I know, gross). Greg Hardy is notorious as an ex-NFL player with a tarnished history. Many are divided on whether he should be fighting in the UFC at all.

This fight should be absolute chaos. Tuivasa is explosive and loose and fun to watch, I’m picking him to get it done tonight.

Round 1

Holy shit, Tai Tuivasa comes out to the Spice Girls. This is the best entrance I’ve ever seen in my life. Please win Tai. I’m begging you.

Wow. What a wild minute of fighting. Tuivasa comes out chopping the legs. Hardy hits back with a thunderous shot and PROPERLY wobbles Tuivasa, but as Hardy comes in to finish he gets utterly melted by a counter left hook. Unbelievable scenes. Tuivasa climbs up to the cage and goes straight for the shoey babyyyyyyy! Amazing. What a fight as long as it lasted.

Tai Tuivasa wins va KO in the first round

Aldana came out victorious.

This is a big fight for the women’s bantamweight division, between two of its top contenders. Interestingly, Aldana is coming off a bad weight miss, hitting the scale at 139.5 pounds, when she needed to hit 136. Will that affect this fight? Historically fighters who miss weight have an advantage, but sometimes that weight cut struggle can have a massive impact on stamina. Let’s see what happens. I’m picking Kunitskaya.

Round 1

Kunitskaya is throwing heat from the outset, landing big leg kicks. She’s moving aggressively and really looks up for this. But once Aldana settled in she began landing big punches, including one to the body that appeared to really affect Kunitskaya.

And then all of a sudden Aldana absolutely cracks Kunitskaya coming in with a heavy counter check hook that lays Kunitskaya out. She tries to defend with upkicks, but eventually Aldana gets on top and lands bomb after bomb on Kunitskaya, who struggles to defend. This one is over.

Irene Aldana wins via TKO in the first round

Sean O’Malley won in a landslide victory.

If you’re new to “Suga” Sean O’Malley, brace yourself. He is one of the rising stars in the UFC and one of the most entertaining fighters on the roster. There’s a reason he’s opening this card.

Unfortunately, his original opponent, Louis Smolka, was removed from this fight thanks to a staph infection. The replacement fighter, Kris Moutinho, represents something of a mismatch. He’s a last minute replacement and not a strong one either. It would be a wild upset if O’Malley lost this fight, but stranger things have happened in the UFC.

Round 1

Moutinho absolutely marching forward trying to catch O’Malley with legs kicks. But O’Malley seems to be landing at will, probing front kicks, precision jabs, straights. Just incredible land percentage. At one point O’Malley had him hurt and was… pretending to play basketball? Incredible.

But Moutinho’s ability to absorb damage and walk forward does appear to be causing O’Malley some issues. That said, O’Malley absolutely sparked him in the last second of the round. One more minute and he’d have been out.

Incredibly, O’Malley broke the bantamweight record for most strikes landed in a round

CNET scores it 10-8 for O’Malley

Round 2

O’Malley can’t miss and Moutinho has one of the craziest chins I’ve seen in a fight. He is still walking forward is crazy. O’Malley’s shots seem to have lost their sting. This guy is fighting like it’s his last day on earth. It’s wild that’s he’s still here to take these shots.

O’Malley is landing at a 84% accuracy rate. Anderson Silva levels here. But Moutinho is STILL HERE.

CNET scores it 10-9 for O’Malley

Round 3

Another crazy round where Moutinho just marched through shots and O’Malley just landing at will with precise, clean hard shots. Again, I’ve never seen anything like this.

Eventually, Herb Dean waves it off. O’Malley had a few exchanges where he was really teeing off with every strike you can imagine — knees, punches, kicks. 

To be honest, I would have liked to see that continue. Regardless, a wild fight. O’Malley landed huge shots at an incredible rate and Moutinho just took it all.

Sean O’Malley wins via TKO in the third round

Naomi Osaka drops out of Wimbledon

The withdrawal follows Osaka’s exit from the French Open last month.

Naomi Osaka serves in a tennis match at the French Open on May 30.

“Naomi Osaka will be greatly missed by all of us at Wimbledon this year, but we completely understand her decision,” Wimbledon told CNET in an emailed statement. “We wish her a happy time with her friends and family and look forward to welcoming her back to Wimbledon next year.”

The withdrawal follows Osaka dropping out of the French Open in May after facing a $15,000 fine from tournament organizers for declining to take part in media interviews. Osaka had cited mental health reasons for not wanting to meet with the press during the tennis tournament.

“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” Osaka, 23, wrote in a statement describing her struggles with depression. “I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly. The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018.”

Wimbledon is slated to take place from June 28 until July 11. Tournament organizers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

NCAA women’s basketball championship: How to watch Arizona vs. Stanford today without cable

The women’s college basketball tournament concludes on ESPN and you don’t need cable to watch.

Here’s what you need to know to watch without a cable or satellite subscription.

The Arizona Wildcats celebrate after defeating the UConn Huskies in the Final Four semifinal game on Friday.

Yes. And you’ve got options. Each of the five major live TV streaming services — Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, FuboTV and AT&T TV — offer ESPN. The cheapest option is Sling TV’s Orange package, which costs $35 per month. The other services offer more channels in their basic packages and cost $65 or $70 per month.

Sling TV’s Orange plan costs $35 a month and includes ESPN.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes ESPN.

Hulu With Live TV costs $65 a month and includes ESPN.

FuboTV costs $65 a month and includes ESPN.

AT&T TV’s basic, $70-a-month package includes ESPN.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our live-TV streaming services guide.

Outside the US? Consider using a VPN: CNET editors choose the best VPN

White House confirms diplomatic boycott of 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing

The move is in response to China’s human rights abuses. American athletes will still be allowed to compete in the Games.

The Biden administration says the diplomatic boycott is a response to China’s “genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.” Above, a Games-themed sculpture is featured at Beijing Winter Olympic Park.

Psaki said the US doesn’t intend to stage a full boycott, which would prevent American athletes from attending. The last time the US staged a full boycott was during the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow during the Cold War.

On Jan. 19, the US State Department under the Trump administration declared that the Chinese government is committing genocide against Uighur people and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region. This is just the latest action the US has taken against the Chinese government, intensifying an already strained relationship due to years of tensions over human rights abuses and trade.

Monday’s announcement comes two months before the Games are set to begin. “We feel this sends a clear message,” Psaki said during the press briefing.

In response to the boycott, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Monday said, “I want to stress that the Winter Olympic Games is not a stage for political posturing and manipulation. This wishful thinking and pure grandstanding is aimed at political manipulation. It is a grave travesty of the spirit of the Olympic Charter, a blatant political provocation and a serious affront to the 1.4 billion Chinese people.”

Kentucky Derby 2021: How to watch, stream live today without cable

The biggest horse race of the year is running Saturday on NBC. You can watch, no cable subscription required.

If you won’t be sipping mint juleps at Churchill Downs, you can make your own Derby cocktails and watch from home. The 2021 Kentucky Derby takes place on Saturday, May 1 and will be broadcast on NBC. Here’s how you can watch live without cable.

The Kentucky Derby ran in September last year but returns to its rightful place on the first Saturday in May this year.

The Kentucky Derby takes place on Saturday, May 1. TV coverage runs from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and then from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Post time is set for approximately 6:57 p.m. ET (3:57 p.m. PT).

Read more: NBA restart: How to watch live games without cable

If you don’t have cable, you still have plenty of options. The least expensive that doesn’t require streaming is to connect an over-the-air antenna to your TV and watch your local NBC station.

If you’re streaming on a PC, phone or tablet you can watch on NBCSports.com or the NBC Sports app.

You could also check out a live TV streaming service, all of which offer free trials. Not every service carries your local NBC station, however, so check the links below to make sure.

Read more: How to place a Kentucky Derby bet with the TwinSpires app

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Sling Blue package includes local NBC stations but only in a handful of markets and NBCSN.

Read our Sling TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets and NBCSN. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

AT&T Now TVs $70-a-month Plus package includes NBC and NBCSN in most markets. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

FuboTV costs $65 a month and includes NBC and NBCSN in most markets. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets and NBCSN. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.