Major League Soccer and Univision Deportes, the multimedia sports division of Univision Communications Inc. (UCI), have struck a deal with Facebook to live stream a full slate of regular season matches on the social network.
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 U.S. for live streaming in English via the Univision Deportes Facebook page. The live streamed matches, which will be produced for consumption on mobile devices, will feature Facebook-specific commentators, interactive graphics, and fan Q&A and polling features allowing viewers to engage directly with commentators throughout matches. The first MLS match to be streamed on Facebook will feature 2017 expansion club Atlanta United hosting the Chicago Fire on Saturday, March 18 at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Additionally, MLS will now produce 40 exclusive “Matchday Live” shows on Facebook on MLS game days, which will feature highlights and analysis from around the League and a preview of the day’s upcoming matches. These shows will be produced specifically for Facebook and available on the MLS Facebook page, with interactive features that will connect viewers directly to “Matchday Live” hosts.
“We are committed to serving our passionate fans,” said Gary Stevenson, President and Managing Director, MLS Business Ventures. “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.”
“As the undisputed home of soccer in the U.S., 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.”
Throughout the 2016 season, MLS collaborated with Facebook on a number of innovative projects, including doing a total takeover of the Sports on Facebook Page, MLS Commissioner Don Garber hosting a Facebook Live Q&A following his annual State of the League address, and creating unique content around signature MLS events including the MLS All-Star Game, Decision Day, and MLS Cup.