August 15 – Facebook has confirmed it has snapped up the rights to show Spain’s LaLiga on Indian sub-continent in a three-year deal that starts Friday with the kick-off of the new league season.
Facebook will stream all 380 of the season’s matches to users in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Facebook has 348 million users in the region including 270 million in India.
There will also be pre-and-post game analysis presented by Joe Morrison with Michel Salgado and Luis Garcia offering insights.
The broadcast rights had previously been with Sony Pictures Network in a four-year deal that cost $32 million in 2014, will move to Facebook to cover the four-season cycle from 2018/19 to 2021/22.
Facebook is moving fast to build its football content in Asia having grabbed rights for live Premier League matches in south-east Asia for an estimated £260 million in early July. That three-season deal from 2019/20 to 2021/22 will see Facebook broadcast 380 games per season in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
Peter Hutton, Facebook’s director of global live sports, told Reuters its La Liga streams would be free of advertising at first but that it could go on to a subscription service. Keen to emphasise that it was not part of a land grab of sports rights he said: “This is one deal. It’s not something that is a big threat to broadcast world.”
His interpretation will likely be viewed differently elsewhere as he is putting a big Facebook stake in the ground in terms of acquiring premium broadcast football rights.
Jose Antonio Cachaza, La Liga’s country manager for India, said: “This is the first step for us. We’re excited to see it and we want make it as successful as possible so we can unlock other territories around the world.”
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