February 16, 2017Published by: Delia Howe

Kicking the ball into sports streaming

It’s no secret Facebook is pushing longer form video and streaming sports is an obvious part of the media landscape today.

This week the company announced a partnership with broadcaster Univision to live-stream Mexico’s top football league, Liga MX, which also happens to be the most watched football league in the US. For football fans in America, this has hit a sweet chord and could potentially be a testing ground for Facebook to monetise on sports users. For broadcasters, accessing this key Facebook audience can provide insight into their behaviour, usage and opinions.

The 46 games that will run through to the playoffs, will be streamed in the US only, on Univision's Deportes’ page and Facebook’s live video tab - in English and without any ads.

Sports games have previously been well received on platforms such as Facebook which has a US audience of 191.3 million people. To put it in context the top 10 sports pages on Facebook have approximately altogether over 1 billion fans, making it an obvious move to reach the sports fan. While channels like Sky Sports may not panic over a decline in viewers who watch highlights on Snapchat for example, what Facebook is offering is a whole other playing field.

Not the only player, Twitter has already secured deals with the PGA Tour, Sky Sports, and will soon be livestreaming the 6 Nations Rugby tournament in France in partnership with France Télévisions.

This new deal with Facebook - a first of its kind for the broadcaster, could indicate a change in strategy to appeal and capture a younger audience not available by traditional TV. Last year, Facebook streamed a Manchester United vs Everton Football Club game on British soccer star Wayne Rooney’s Facebook page generating 2.8 million views up to date - a move seen as clear interest by the company towards the sports industry and TV.

Whether the continued push into sports streaming strikes a goal with FIFA, the Premier League or UEFA? Only time will tell.

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