Facebook open to working with broadcasters for LaLiga rights in India

MUMBAI: Social networking giant Facebook, which has acquired the LaLiga rights for the Indian market for three years, has said it is open to working with broadcasters to ensure widest possible reach for the tournament.

The landmark deal between La Liga and Facebook was announced today. The deal will allow viewers in the Indian sub-continent to watch for free on the social network. Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) earlier owned the rights.

Facebook head of global live sports programming Peter Hutton noted that the LaLiga deal is not a threat to broadcasters.

“We have rights to work with broadcasters and we may bring in partners to make sure the experience is right. What’s clear about this is that 380 games will be available on Facebook, then we’ll keep our options open as to how we spread that content out so people can see it in as many ways as possible,” Hutton told Reuters.

He described the LaLiga acquisition as an experiment. The social network is also eyeing other sports deals. That said, the company will not be on a buying spree.

“We’re looking at specific rights in specific markets and to try to learn from data from those experiences and work out what the next step is. If you rush into too many deals at once, you can’t do it properly,” Hutton averred.

Facebook will not air any ads initially. However, it may look at ads in the latter stages. Facebook is doing trials in advertising on live content in the United States. This may also be replicated on its La Liga coverage.

Hutton also said that apart from the live games, there will be other programmes like studio discussion, preview shows, and highlights.

La Liga head digital strategy Alfredo Bermejo said that the organisation wanted to improve the broadcasting strategy with technology like production, new camera, new angles, a new way of viewing football. Facebook, he added, shared its strategy.

“Facebook is the biggest platform with 270 million users, out of which 60 million are interested in football. So Facebook has the perfect features to help us what we want to,” Bermejo said.

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