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Facebook Have Made a Live Streaming Deal With the MLS

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While Twitter and Snapchat have focused their broadcasting attention largely on the NFL, Facebook have had their sights elsewhere. Reportedly, they are currently negotiating a deal with the MLB, but for the time being it looks like soccer is their primary focus.

It makes sense; soccer is the most widely watched sport on the planet, and it's split into a myriad of different national and international leagues, leagues which Facebook have been striking deals with one by one. They've already worked with La Liga to broadcast Spanish games in both male and female divisions, while similar deals are being worked out for France's Ligue 1 and Mexico's Liga MX.

Now, Facebook have also worked out an agreement with the USA's Major League Soccer (MLS). Facebook now have exclusive rights to stream at least 22 regular season games online, if not more. This move also serves to strengthen Facebook's partnership with English/Spanish US network Univision, who played a key role in the broadcasting deal they made with Liga MX.

It doesn't end with the live match content though, the MLS have also agreed to produce exclusive match analysis content for the platform. The first game is due to go out on the 18th of March, on both the MLS page and Univision. This is a smart move by Facebook, while other platforms are playing tug-of-war with the NFL, NBA and others, they have worked to create a monopoly on soccer.

There's a marketing trick called the 'Little Bighorn', named for the Battle of Little Bighorn. In that battle, General Custer and his men where wiped out because they were outnumbered, and surrounded. The way this applies in marketing is that if you're after one big target, you take a bunch of little targets until the one you want is effectively surrounded, any put in a position where they have to take a similar deal just to keep up with trends.

So, in this scenario, the little targets are La Liga, Liga MX and the MLS. Guess what the big one is? Yup, the EPL. The Premier League sell their rights in terms of territory, there isn't any one service or network which broadcasts it across regions. This media strategy doesn't exclude tech giants, however, and if the right offer came along, there wouldn't be anything to stop them making a deal with Facebook,  especially if Facebook already have a guaranteed viewer base for soccer, thanks to the other leagues they deal with.

Making a broadcasting deal with the EPL saved BT from the brink of bankruptcy in 2012, and they had to scrape every available resource together just to make it work. Facebook, meanwhile, have all the resources they need for it already to hand. It's all speculative right now, but if Facebook do end up making a deal with the EPL, it could be a massive leap forward for social media streaming.




Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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Facebook Have Made a Live Streaming Deal With the MLS Reviewed by Callum Davies on Monday, March 13, 2017 Rating: 5

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