Facebook looks to expand reach in India by purchasing rights to La Liga

Facebook looks to expand reach in India by purchasing rights to La Liga

  • Facebook has bought the rights to broadcast La Liga on the social media platform for free in India and 7 other Asian countries.
  • The rights for the region were previously with Sony Pictures Network.
  • Initially, the live streams will not feature any adverts as they are ‘free to air’ in the region.
Traditionally, India has had more Premier League fans than the La Liga, but with the Spanish football league coming to Indian sub-continent for free via Facebook, that paradigm might see a switch.

But, more importantly, this is a major blow to Sony Pictures Network that purchased the rights to broadcast La Liga between 2014 and 2018 for $32 million (₹2.2 billion). Even the English Premier League (EPL) rights lie with Star India till 2019. That means that Sony’s football rights are limited to the Indian Premier League.

And, Facebook’s rights aren’t limited to just streaming in India for the next three years. The social media giant will also be broadcasting the matches in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Mark Zuckerberg is apparently also eyeing the rights to the English Premier League in India after having bought them for Thailand and Vietnam.

Free streaming vs TV broadcasting

Facebook isn’t the only online platform to venture to explore broadcasting live sports online. In the UK, Amazon won the rights to showcase 20 EPL matches earlier this year.

Since it’s online stream, the first fear is always limiting the audience by their geographical area. Reports indicate that Facebook’s monitoring system will guard against any leakage of that kind.

And, throwing one over on TV broadcasting, the initial streams won’t feature any adverts. That being said, Facebook is already working on a model for advertising during live streams in the US. It’s possible that the model will be replicated on Indian streams once implemented.

The Spanish football season kicks off this Friday and fans in India can tune in via the social network to watch all 380 matches.