By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
Facebook – the social media platform – announced on 13 August 2018 that it had acquired the media rights to the Spanish Football League, La Liga, for the Indian subcontinent.
Kicking off the new 2018-2019 season on 17 August 2018, Facebook intends to live stream all 380 matches of the League, one of the most-watched football leagues and home of Real Madrid and Barcelona football clubs.
Facebook has some 70 million subscribers in India, where football is becoming more and more popular. Some 100 million people in India, it has been reported, watched the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Facebook is believed to have paid US$24 million for the rights over a period of three years.
The matches will be aired live and free of charge on the official page of La Liga on the social networking site, and also on the respective club’s pages, pending the launching of its video service ‘Facebook Watch’ in India.
Peter Hutton, the head of global live sports programming at Facebook, told the world’s media that:
“India is a very important market and we are looking at new models. The good news is that all matches are going to be free and that’s what appeals to me most as it will bring in a lot of new audience.”
Association football continues to be the world’s most popular and lucrative sport! Where next, one may ask?
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’