Get ready to “like,” “comment,” and “share” some MLS action. Facebook announced on Friday that it has signed a deal with MLS and Univision, giving it exclusive English-language streaming rights for at least 22 games this season. The first game to be streamed on Facebook will be on March 18th, featuring the Chicago Fire traveling to brand-new side Atlanta United.
The deal will see the 22 games streamed on the Univision Deportes Facebook page, and will feature Facebook-specific features, like live Q&As, polling, and graphics made for the platform. Mobile users might also experience different camera angles optimized for viewing on phones. Less appealing for soccer fans used to continuous action are proposed breaks that will interrupt streams for advertisements.
In addition, MLS will produce over 40 “Matchday Live” episodes that will live exclusively on the league’s Facebook page. The newest installment of the series will air March 11th.
While not a move to take over the league’s entire streaming portfolio, Facebook’s dive into the MLS seems to mirror Twitter’s partnership with the NFL last season, which saw Thursday night games being showcased on the social network. When games are not streamed on Facebook going forward, they should still be available with either Fox Sports Go or WatchESPN, which both require a cable subscription. Facebook’s offerings, on the other hand, will only require an active account on the site.
The move is part of Facebook’s ongoing desire to make a splash into streaming, as its video service grows from once-oddity to powerhouse. The company is also in “advanced talks” with Major League Baseball for rights, on top of deals reached with the NBA D-League and Liga MX.