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Facebook to Live-Stream MLS Matches

13 Mar, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Pro soccer streams are a co-venture with Univision

Major League Soccer and Univision Communications have inked a deal with Facebook to live-stream a full slate of regular season 2017 matches. As part of the agreement, MLS said it would produce additional original content targeting social media.

Financial details of the arrangement were not disclosed.

The league said at least 22 matches, beginning March 18 at 4 p.m. ET between expansion team Atlanta United and Chicago Fire, slated for broadcast on Univision would be streamed on the Univision Deportes Facebook page.

The live-streamed matches will be produced specifically for mobile devices and feature Facebook-specific commentators, interactive graphics, fan Q&A and polling option allowing viewers to engage directly with commentators throughout matches.

“We are committed to serving our passionate fans,” Gary Stevenson, president and managing director for MLS Business Ventures, said in a statement. “We are working with all of our partners on making sure our games, and additional content, get to our fans anytime, anywhere, and on any device.”

Univision said more than 18 million English-language viewers watch soccer on the network in the United States.

“As the undisputed home of soccer in the U.S., Univision Deportes … is committed to growing the sport across platforms and regardless of language,” said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president of Univision Deportes.

MLS will also produce 40 “Matchday Live” shows on Facebook featuring highlights and analysis from around the league and a preview of the day’s upcoming matches.

The shows are produced specifically for Facebook and available on the MLS Facebook page. The pilot episode streamed on the league’s opening weekend March 4.

Dan Reed, head of global sports partnerships at Facebook, said Major League Soccer’s innovative approach to the fan experience has cultivated truly special in-stadium environment that lends itself to social media.

“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 [soccer] fans,” Reed said.

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