If you are a football fan, then we’ve got some news for you. According to reports, social network giant Facebook has won exclusive rights to showcase every single La Liga match. The deal has been signed for the next three season which until recently was owned by Sony Pictures Network.
Viewers, not just in India but also in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, The Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan will get to watch every single game, free of cost. That is, of course, till Facebook plans to keep it free (*cough* subscription).
While the final terms of the deal are still under wraps, Facebook’s director of global live sports spoke to Reuters and said that the La Liga streams will initially be advertising-free, but it was considering how best to implement them in future.
It seems that Facebook is desperate to garner more user engagement, especially after the whole Cambridge Analytica fiasco. Facebook has a reach of 348 million users in the above mentioned countries, out of which 270 million are just in India. While attempts like Free Basics and even Oculus have failed, investing in highly lucrative sports rights could be of some worth. Sure, cricket is still the number one viewed sport in the country, but even football has gained a vast audience in the past few years.
Facebook already has rights for Major League Baseball in the US with a reported cost of $1m per game. While the content is free, it is supported by targeted advertising.
Back in June, Amazon was confirmed to showcase 20 Premier League matches a season from 2019, after winning one of the final two broadcast packages in the UK. The online streaming service has won the rights to show every game from the first round of midweek fixtures in December and all 10 matches on 26 December as part of a three-year deal. No such deal has been signed for Indian viewers.