Facebook expands Univision Deportes ties with MLS streaming deal

Social media platform Facebook has struck its latest significant sports rights deal through an agreement with Major League Soccer and US pay-television broadcaster Univision Deportes.

Under the deal announced today (Friday), 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 US 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 March 18.

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 will be available on the MLS Facebook page, with interactive features that will connect viewers directly to Matchday Live hosts.

Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president of Univision Deportes, said: “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.”

The agreement is the latest partnership between Univision Deportes and Facebook. Last month, Facebook struck a deal to stream selected live matches from Univision Deportes’ coverage of Liga MX, the domestic Mexican football top tier.

The games are available via the Facebook Live service through the Univision Deportes Facebook page in the US. Coverage began on February 18 and the deal will run until the end of this year. Univision Deportes will stream 46 Liga MX matches this year, including play-off games.