MLS Facebook deal

Facebook signed a deal with Major League Soccer (MLS) and Univision Communications Inc today to live stream MLS games on the social network.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to MLS, at least 22 matches during the 2017 MLS regular season that are being broadcast on Univision networks in Spanish will now be available in the US for live streaming in English via the Univision Deportes Facebook page.

The first MLS match to be streamed on Facebook will be Atlanta United hosting the Chicago Fire on March 18 at 4 pm ET.

Facebook has been focused on moving from live-streaming video of individual users towards a more lucrative market: live sports. This is the second sports deal Facebook has signed recently. In February, Facebook signed a deal with Univision to stream 46 Mexican Liga games in english.

“As the undisputed home of soccer in the US, Univision Deportes, together with MLS and Facebook, is committed to growing the sport across platforms and regardless of language,” said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president of Univision Deportes. “Further engaging the more than 18 million English-language viewers that have watched soccer on Univision coupled with the continued success of our MLS broadcasts, including our record-setting season opener, is a natural path in this new era of content consumption.”

“Major League Soccer’s innovative approach to the fan experience has cultivated truly special in-stadium environments, where flag-waving and chant-singing fans come together to passionately support their clubs,” said Dan Reed, Facebook head of global sports partnerships. “We’re very excited for MLS and Univision Deportes to bring this same innovative, community-first spirit to the Facebook Live broadcasts of league matches this season. Their approach will provide fans with an entirely new way to experience a live soccer broadcast that is optimized for mobile screens and social viewing. So even if they’re not at the stadium, people can watch the game on Facebook with a great view of the action while interacting with a highly-engaged community of fans.”

This deal further illustrates the increasing consumption of soccer online, and giving fans easy access will only help grow engagement.