Mexican fútbol is streaming to Facebook this year: The social giant has set a deal with Univision Communications to stream 46 Liga MX soccer matches, including playoff games, in English to Facebook users.
Select matches from Univision Deportes’ rights portfolio to Liga MX games will be available on the channel’s Facebook page and via Facebook’s video tab. The first match will be Saturday, Feb. 18, featuring America vs. Chivas with kickoff scheduled for 10 p.m. ET. Univision Deportes currently has broadcast rights to 17 of the 18 teams in Liga MX.
On Facebook, the English-language live streams will not carry any advertising at the outset, as Facebook is still developing its ad models for live video. The companies didn’t disclose terms of the pact. The games will be broadcast with Spanish commentary on Univision Deportes cable channel.
The deal “enables Facebook’s passionate community of soccer fans to watch, share, talk about and react to one of the sport’s most exciting leagues — all in one location,” said Dan Reed, Facebook’s head of global sports partnerships. According to Univision, Liga MX attracts more U.S. viewers than any other soccer league, including the English Premier League.
Facebook last year had been in talks with the NFL for a package of “Thursday Night Football” games, but Twitter secured worldwide rights to those games for the 2016-17 season.
For Univision, the Facebook deal is a bid to expand the audience for its soccer programming to English-speaking audiences. “TV options have evolved from broadcast to cable to [subscription video-on-demand],” said Tonia O’Connor, Univision Communications’ chief commercial officer and president of content distribution. “Now Facebook represents the next wave of TV and, given its scale, they are an ideal partner to distribute our Liga MX matches in English.”
Pictured above: Monterrey’s Walter Ayovi (l.) in action against Cruz Azul’s Joffre Guerron during their Apertura Liga Mx tournament match in Monterrey, Mexico, July 30, 2016