Kick off…Facebook signs live content partnership with MLS & Univision

Social media giant Facebook Inc has furthered its presence within sports, by agreeing a live streaming content partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS) and Spanish-language American broadcaster Univision Deportes.

This weekend, Facebook executives confirmed that 22 live matches would be streamed ‘in-English’ on Univision Deportes Facebook page. Univision will support the Facebook streams by providing English commentary and ‘unique Facebook’ graphics and interactive features to its broadcast.

Next Saturday’s (18 March) match between the Chicago Fire vs Atlanta United will be the first MLS stream featured by the Facebook/Univision partnership.

Tech news sources have reported that US pro-league stakeholders are closely monitoring the content partnership, with Major League Baseball (MLB) executives investigating whether their league can gain the necessary ‘rights agreements’ to stream matches on Facebook.

At present Univision holds MLS’s Spanish-language broadcast rights, while sports networks ESPN and Fox Sports share MLS English-language rights and match broadcasts.

Facebook the world’s largest social media network, is reported to be eyeing further sports content partnerships as the firm’s governance views video/streaming content as a key dynamic to growing its future advertising revenues.

US Tech giants expanding their sports content portfolios’ is no new trend. Last April Twitter made its first major commitment to live sports streaming by winning the ‘NFL Global Streaming’ partnership, allowing it to broadcast 10 live NFL Thursday matches.

Last week, Google Inc announced that subsidiary YouTube, will launch its ‘YouTube TV’ subscription services which would ‘lean heavily on sports’. Paying just $35 a month, viewers will gain access to 40 US premium channels including sports broadcasters ESPN Network, ComCast, NBC Sports and FOX Sports TV.

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