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Facebook to Stream Live Champions League

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Fox Sports has inked a deal with Facebook to provide live streaming of Champions League Games in September. The games will be broadcasted in Spanish and English on the Fox Deportes and Fox Sports Facebook pages respectively.  The deal includes games in the group stage, after which four rounds of 16 matches and four quarter-final matches will be aired.

“Facebook is a social media powerhouse and a great partner to help us grow soccer in the United States. As people spend more and more time on mobile devices and social networks, offering matches on this platform is a natural extension,” David Nathanson, Fox Sports head of business operation said. “Facebook has one of the most social soccer audiences on the web, and this is going to expose the Champions’ League to fans who aren’t tuning into a game on TV,” he added.

Soccer streaming is quickly becoming a crucial part of strategies which the company is using to reach even more users since such services are usually only available on sports networks. Last year, at least 3.7 million people watched a match on Facebook between Manchester and Everton only, according to reports by Bloomberg.

CONTENT DEMAND

When live games are not being streamed on Facebook, data reveals that soccer fans on Facebook long for soccer content. For example, in the European Professional Tournament, after Real Madrid beat Juventus, 98 million interactions from 34 million people were recorded in reaction to the match.

“Facebook has one of the most social soccer audiences on the web, and this is going to expose the Champions’ League to fans who aren’t tuning into a game on TV,” David Nathanson said.

This comes less than a month after Facebook also chalked out a deal with Major League Baseball, where it’ll be live-streaming 20 of the league’s matches in this season.

Social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook have actively given more substance to the signing of live-streaming sports deals with the aim of reaching out to the young generation, who are progressively using the internet to watch games and discarding the traditional means of cable TV.

Efforts by Facebook to build up on its capacities to offer live programming comes as it concomitantly as it signs more deals to stream scripted and unscripted  series on its platforms exclusively. Such series include Last State Standing, an American competition series.

On Tuesday, Twitter also struck a deal with the Canadian Football League (CFL) to live-stream a half-hour show which features player interviews, football news and stories about the league.

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Melissa Daniels
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