FA Cup Streams Fixtures on Facebook

The FA have taken matters into their own hands this week, streaming two games from the FA Cup 5th round on their official Facebook page.

Wednesday morning’s clash between Reading and Sheffield United, which saw the Blades triumph 2-1 in extra time was the first game.

Leicester City’s home fixture against Championship side Birmingham City, which kicks off at 6:45 AEDT is the second game that will be broadcast live onto Facebook.

As is the case with Facebook streaming, fans will not have to pay a single cent to watch this tie.

Partnering with Facebook will certainly allow the FA access to a much larger fanbase, with Facebook easily the largest social media website on the planet.

When you combine that with the lack of a fee to watch the game, fans from across the UK can watch two famous English teams do battle for a spot in the sixth round.

The FA have previously used gambling agencies such as bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power to stream some FA Cup games. But the FA are feeling the heat in that department and now seem to be keen to use alternative websites to stream games.

A few months ago, we wrote a piece about the affect that potential changes to the UK’s Gambling Act could have on clubs who use gambling agencies as major sponsors.

The FA could be in a similar position to that, hence why they are now turning away from the gambling industry.

The aforementioned gambling agencies no longer have the rights to stream games not being streamed by major broadcasters, therefore allowing the FA to dip into social media.

Most FA Cup games are shown on major broadcast channels such as Bein Sports and mainly BT Sport in the UK.

The FA does give worldwide fans access to match highlights via its Twitter page, meaning that if you aren’t able to watch these games either on Bein Sports, BT Sport or on Facebook, the highlights are available after the final whistle.

Obtaining the broadcast rights for a match involving a club in the Champions League spots is a huge coup for Facebook.

When excluding their extraordinary title triumph back in 2016, many fans think of the Foxes and immediately think of a side who are probably good for middle table most seasons.

However, under Brendan Rodgers, a manager who nearly took Liverpool to an unlikely Premier League title a few years ago, Leicester fans have been able to dream again of playing European football.

Having one of their games streamed for free on the largest social media platform on the planet is a massive deal and fans in the UK would be chuffed.

The Sheffield United match was also a fantastic piece of business, especially seeing how the match played out.

Chris Wilder has taken the Blades to levels unimaginable at the start of the season. Sheffield United are an outside chance of playing European football next season, only one year after gaining promotion from the Championship.

Their match against Reading was a tightly fought contest, with an extra-time winner from Blades’ striker Billy Sharp seeing his side through to the quarter finals.

It is unlikely that more games in this year’s FA Cup will be shown for free on Facebook, but it certainly a great sign that the FA are willing to this and not just because it is at the behest of gambling agencies.

Would you like to see more games streamed for free online? Get involved in the discussion on Twitter @Soccersceneau

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Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

Paramount+ secures Premier League deal overseas

A-Leagues broadcaster Paramount+ has secured a three-year deal for English Premier League broadcast rights in Mexico and Central America.

A-Leagues broadcaster Paramount+ has secured a three-year deal for English Premier League rights in Mexico and Central America from the start of the 2022/23 season.

The new partnership will mark the end of pay-TV provider Sky Mexico’s reign as the only Premier League broadcaster in the region.

All 380 English Premier League matches will be streamed live through Paramount+ and ‘PlutoTV’ who is the aggregated streaming platform for Paramount+.

The contract covers Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. It also includes Belize and the Dominican Republic but on a non-exclusive basis.

Paramount+, owned by ViacomCBS, has also secured a Premier League feed for its platforms featuring 24/7 coverage of the competition.

ViacomCBS launched Paramount+ in the US in 2019 with several high-profile soccer rights acquisitions. This included International matches, CONCACAF, UEFA Champions League, as well as top flight football from Italy, Argentina and Brazil.

The Premier League rights deal marks an expansion of operations in Central America ahead of moving into a number of additional territories by 2023, including the UK, Ireland, Germany and Italy.

Premier League Chief Executive Officer, Paul Molnar:

“We are very happy that ViacomCBS views the Premier League and our clubs as a vital part of their live sports offering,” he said.

“ViacomCBS platforms, including Paramount+ and Pluto TV, will be an outstanding home for the Premier League and we look forward to working together to showcase the league to new and existing fans throughout Central America and Mexico.”

Paramount+ has already made their mark in Australia, providing live coverage for A-League men’s and women’s competitions for subscribers to the platform.

ViacomCBS President and Chief Executive, Raffaele Annecchino:

“We know audiences around the world are passionate about sports, and especially about football. This partnership with the Premier League brings exclusive content directly to those fans, live for the first time on Paramount+ in Mexico and Central America,” he said.

“Live sports are an important differentiator for our streaming service, and as we’ve seen in the US and Australia, we are confident this will drive subscriber growth as we continue to offer the best mix of entertainment and now – live sports.”

LaLiga celebrates five years of international growth

LaLiga has celebrated five years of it's very own unique international structure that has driven worldwide expansion of the competition.

LaLiga has celebrated five years of it’s very own unique international structure that has driven worldwide expansion of the competition, turning the Spanish league into a world-leading reference for the sports industry.

The LaLiga Global Network program was launched in early January 2017, and is present in 41 different countries, with 44 on-site delegates and another 11 employees working from LaLiga headquarters in Madrid.

The program also has 11 international offices and two joint ventures in North America and China. The international expansion strategy has covered over 90 different countries, boasting an extreme amount of growth throughout a five-year period.

It is a big reason why more and more people around the world are falling in love with LaLiga football.

LaLiga executive director Oscar Mayo:

“Five years ago, we embarked on an ambitious mission to bring the entertainment and emotion of LaLiga to more fans around the world and to help grow football as a sport everywhere,” he said.

“We are very proud that LaLiga and its main protagonists, clubs, players, coaches, are closer today to more people around the world than ever before.

“That said, this is just the beginning, together with clubs and with the support of our new partner CVC, we will give our international efforts a massive boost.”

The internationalisation strategy has had a positive effect in the growth of the community within LaLiga facts across the globe, as the league now possesses 146 million followers.

LaLiga produces plenty of content, however what is unique is that the content is published in over 20 different languages across 17 different social media platforms, allowing discussions about the league to occur in many different places.

Out of all the top five leagues in Europe, LaLiga has the largest following. Even in recent years, the number of international activations organised by LaLiga has doubled, reaching 1,222 across more than 90 countries.

Mayo continued:

“When it comes to football fans outside of Spain, we always say that we would like to be everyone’s second most popular league, after their local league,” he said.

“National leagues are the true engine of football and that’s why LaLiga is sharing the recipe of its own success with leagues, federations and clubs around the world.

“The growing number of commercial partnerships around the world is a sign of the increasing relevance of LaLiga. Our commercial partner are a very important part of LaLiga fan engagement.”

La Liga has had 247% in the value of the competitions’ international audiovisual rights since 2013/14 and a boost to the value of the LaLiga brand.

The numbers confirm that Spanish football has captivated fans all over the world, whilst attesting to the success of the internationalisation process.

“We are on an exciting journey to entertain people around the globe. We will continue to make bold bets to bring Spanish football fans everywhere great entertainment and to introduce our competition to more people everywhere. We are only just getting started,” Mayo said.

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