Apart from your everyday TV channels, Facebook will be live-streaming UEFA Champions League football when the popular tournament resumes in September.
The leading social media platform has signed a deal with Fox Sports to beam out a number of matches in the European top-flight football starting with the group stage doppelgangers. The service will also stream four match-ups in the round of 16 and four out of eight quarterfinal clashes.
The English commentary will be streaming on Fox Sports Facebook Page while Spanish broadcast will be live on Fox Deportes Facebook Page. A handy way to watch live matches especially from handheld devices, but it’s unfortunate that the service will be confined to people in the US alone. Quite disappointing to soccer diehards in other parts of the world, especially in Britain which has the most popular league in the world today. But as along as technology is alive, there will be workarounds. One popular way to access region-blocked web content is through Virtual Private Network (VPN). I see this being useful come September.
Facebook to charge higher for ads
Football is one of the most watched sports on the planet today with Champions League being the most popular soccer tournament, which explains why Facebook is interested in the games played by the best performing football outfits in Europe. With the huge following, the company is looking to entice more advertisers to its platform and even charge them higher rates for the fliers. Facebook hasn’t started selling ads against these matches though, but it will definitely do, at least before they start.
Soccer is now the most followed sport on Facebook and with the numbers on its side, the social media powerhouse is bound to succeed. No need to look further for proof. Last year, during Rooney’s charity match – Manchester United vs Everton – a whopping 3.7 million football fans tuned in to watch the game live on Facebook. And when Real Madrid lifted the trophy after downing Juventus 4-1 back on July 3 in Wales, 34 million people exchanged 98 million interactions in relation to that single match alone.
The company has already inked other deals
Unlike Twitter that has been up to airing all kinds of games on its platform, Facebook has been keeping it precise. The company has signed contracts to broadcast games with a number of top-notch leagues in the world. The social media has stuck a deal with Univision Communications to show live coverage of Mexico’s premier football matches. Besides, they have also acquired rights, through a deal with Univision and Major League Soccer, to live-stream MLS games including patent to show highlights and analysis around those matches.
Fox Sports and Facebook are good business partners, the 21st Century Fox Inc. merchandise has been producing weekly football shows for the social media platform. In fact, Fox Sports will not be showing some of the Champions League soccer matches on its TV networks, rather, will leave them exclusively for coverage on Facebook, the brand’s head of business operations David Nathanson said.
Talking during an interview, David said that the number of matches they have for live coverage exceeds their networks. He is, however, confident that the social networking service will give Champions League a good social exposure considering the size of soccer audience on the platform. Facebook’s head of global sports partnerships Dan Reed, on his part, said that the company is delighted to help Fox reach out to new audiences on their platform.
All said and done, this should be a welcome to entertainment-starved soccer fans. There is no group that is hungry for entertainment right now than football enthusiasts. With all major leagues on recess, the sport’s aficionados are left with one dream as they go to sleep; that they wake up in August when their favorite outfits will be back on the pitch. And this time around it will be better, as they will be watching live on Facebook with share button just a few taps away.