Facebook Signs Another Major Asia Sports Deal - Insight Trending

Facebook Signs Another Major Asia Sports Deal

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Facebook Signs Another Major Asia Sports Deal
People in the Indian subcontinent will, from Friday, have only one way to watch top flight Spanish football: on Facebook.

The social network has signed an exclusive deal to show every La Liga game, for the next three seasons, to viewers in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, The Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The rights were previously held by Sony Pictures Network.

The terms of the new deal have not been disclosed. The last time they were for sale, in 2014, they were bought for $32m, according to Reuters.

There are 348m Facebook users in the region, 270m of them are in India.

It is the latest move from Facebook, and the tech industry in general, to invest in highly lucrative sports rights for emerging streaming services.

The social network already shows Major League Baseball to US audiences at a reported cost of $1m per game. As with the rest of Facebook, the content is free but supported by targeted advertising.

Speaking to Reuters, Facebook’s director of global live sports said the La Liga streams would at first be advertising-free, but it was considering how best to implement them in future.

“This is one deal,” Peter Hutton told the news agency. “It’s not something that is a big threat to broadcast world.”

It’s unlikely broadcasters will see it that way - and they’re wise not to.

Live sport is the major driver of subscriptions to premium cable or satellite services, and the slow creep of technology companies buying up sports rights will have traditional broadcasters concerned.

Since the rise of Netflix and others, live sport has been just about the only thing holding many potential cord-cutters back from making the chop.

The Facebook-La Liga deal is part of a global trend. In the UK, the current Premier League season will be the last time every live match will be shown on a TV channel.

Next season, 20 games will be online-only - viewable only through Amazon. The company will bundle the games in with its Prime subscription service.

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