Univision Communications Inc. (UCI) announced an agreement with Facebook on Monday that will enable fans to stream 46 Liga MX soccer matches this season including playoffs on Facebook Live — in English.
The streaming of live Liga MX soccer matches in English can be accessed on the Univision Deportes Facebook page or via Facebook’s video tab starting Feb. 18 with a match-up between America and Chivas at 10 p.m. ET. Univision Deportes carries the rights to 17 of the 18 teams in Liga MX.
“Univision’s unparalleled soccer productions and coverage have always garnered great engagement from not only Spanish-speaking viewers, but English-speaking fans as well,” Tonia O’Connor, chief commercial officer and president of Content Distribution, UCI, said in a statement. “Our Facebook partnership is an exciting opportunity for these fans to experience this great soccer in the language of their choice.”
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Liga MX is the most-watched soccer league in the U.S., with viewership in the country exceeding even the English Premier League, according to Univision.
Social media sites like Facebook have emerged as a viable medium to live-stream sporting events. Facebook Live is the place to see live Atlantic 10 basketball games and the CollegeInsider.com tournament. Over the course of the 2016 season, Twitter live-streamed 10 Thursday Night Football games, and ratings suggested that social networks have a knack for attracting younger and more international audiences.
Facebook’s move to partner with UCI and live-stream Liga MX match-ups marches lockstep with a bet on the future of social media in sports.
“Sports are inherently social, with the power to build and connect communities around the world. This aligns closely with our mission, and we feel Facebook is a natural home for sports content,” said Dan Reed, Facebook’s Head of Global Sports Partnerships. “Early experiments with these events on Facebook have delivered great results for fans, broadcasters and rights holders. People around the world are tuning into matches ranging from global football to table tennis, while broadcasters and rights holders are reaching new audiences and experimenting with interactive, social and mobile-first productions,” Reed said of Facebook Live coverage. “We plan to bring fans more live games from a variety of sports in the Video tab, and will collaborate closely with our partners to do so in a way that supports their business goals.”
Univision Deportes is constantly looking for new ways to connect their diverse audience with their passions, even when they may not be stationed in front of a television set, said Univision Deportes president Juan Carlos Rodriguez.
“Facebook will bring the passionate and loyal fans of the most-watched soccer league in the U.S. their favorite matches to its Facebook Live platform, where Univision Deportes can also be the first to engage a new, dedicated audience in today’s mobile and connected world,” he said in a statement.
Further details of its deal with UCI have not yet been disclosed but the partnership certainly suggests a trending strategy.