Facebook signs deal to screen La Liga games in Indian sub-continent

Facebook signs deal to screen La Liga games in Indian sub-continent

Facebook and the League refused to give financial details of the deal, which is driving the social networking giant to unseat the Sony Pictures Network as the rights holder in the region.

In India there are over 350 million Facebook users with 50 million interested in football. Facebook has asked major USA banks to share customer data to allow it to develop new services on the social network's Messenger texting platform, a banking source told AFP on August 6, 2018.

The deal will allow hundreds of millions of south Asian users to watch top-tier Spanish football matches for free. Its popularity is notably visible in the Indian subcontinent, so we're delighted to be able to serve the community of fans there with free, live LaLiga matches for the next three seasons.

Beginning this weekend, La Liga will stream all season 2018/19 matches (total 380 matches) on Facebook's social media platform, making its content available to audiences in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. "Apart from the live games, the fans will also have access to see other programmes like studio discussion, preview shows and highlights", Hutton said, adding that interacting with fellow fans is a very interesting feature that Facebook will offer during the live streaming.

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The deal is the latest example of major tech companies branching out into sports rights, a territory previously dominated by traditional broadcasters and, more recently, by telecoms operators.

The deal comes as a growing number of football matches are being streamed live, reducing the dependence on satellite television for viewers. Sony paid a reported $32 million to broadcast La Liga between 2014 and 2018.

Facebook's foray into sports streaming began in 2017 when it started airing weekly Major League Baseball games in the U.S., at a reported cost of $1m per game.

In 2017 Facebook made an unsuccessful $610 million bid for the digital rights to the Indian Premier League cricket tournament.

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