On Monday, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will face off in the first of three presidential debates ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election. It will mark the first time since Trump's wedding in 2005 that they're publicly photographed together, and is likely to be as strange and mind-boggling as everything else about this election cycle. Dedicated sports — er, I mean, politics — fans and newcomers alike need to know how to watch the first presidential debate, if for no other purpose than for the watch party drinking games.
The first debate, which is to be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, is going to be on NBC Nightly News, and moderated by anchor Lester Holt. It will air live from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET. If you have a TV or the ability to stream live TV (such as with Xfinity or AT&T U-verse), you can tune into NBC from there. You can also tune in on Facebook Live, which is teaming up with ABC News to bring the debates to the social network.
We're incredibly lucky to have so many places to watch presidential debates in 2016, and even luckier that our presidential candidates are now required to attend debates. According to the Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan organization that schedules and organizes presidential debates, no debates were held in 1964, 1968, or 1972 following the Nixon-Kennedy debates of 1960 because the candidates refused to do them. There were debates in the following three elections, but they weren't nearly as organized as the debates now familiar to the American public. And we thought the 2016 candidates were divas.
ABC is reportedly experimenting with the Facebook Live model and offering the debates without advertising. Additionally, the network reportedly wants to watch the ways viewers interact with the social network when viewing and aims to offer "enhanced political reporting and analysis."
According to AdWeek, the Facebook Live coverage will operate much like traditional cable news coverage with on-the-ground feeds from the debates, commentary from their New York offices, and an added "social" twist as they report from watch parties around the country.
With a reported 28 million video views from the Democratic and Republican national conventions across ABC Facebook pages, watching on Facebook Live offers viewers (myself included) a great alternative to having to watch on a TV or sign up for annoying free TV streaming trials.