Major League Soccer Brings Game Recaps to Facebook Watch

The agreement complements the league’s existing pact with Twitter

MLS will host weekly Watch Parties on Facebook Watch Major League Soccer/Facebook
Headshot of David Cohen

The Major League Soccer season kicked off this past weekend, and Wednesday, the league revealed details on the kickoff of a new partnership with Facebook.

MLS will make “robust recaps” of all of its matches available via the social network’s Facebook Watch longform video destination.

Facebook director of league and media sports partnerships Rob Shaw said in an interview, “Having MLS content on Facebook Watch was important to us. Its three-minute-plus videos have found a home on Facebook Watch.”

The pact with Facebook complements the league’s existing arrangement with Twitter, which includes a match of the week, as well as near-real-time highlights of every goal scored.

“We saw an opportunity to extend what we’re doing on social media,” MLS senior vice president of media Chris Schlosser said in an interview. “We’re leaning into Facebook Watch this season in a bigger way than the past couple of years. Facebook offers really great complementary products to everything we’ve done with Twitter.”

The match recaps will be joined on Facebook Watch by content including highlights, other game video and compilations of players’ best moves, Schlosser said.

The league will also host weekly Watch Parties on the platform, enabling fans to connect with each other while viewing the game recaps and other video content.

And the latest highlights will be shared via the MLS Facebook page.

Shaw said, “MLS has the luxury of being a somewhat new league in the U.S. They’ve made it clear to us that they want to be innovative and at the forefront of how people consume their content. With more new people discovering Facebook Watch, we wanted to make sure that there is a frequency to the content people are able to find.”

He added that the recaps will cause Facebook users to develop a new behavior and expect that type of content every time they come to Facebook Watch.

This isn’t the league’s first video deal with Facebook: It livestreamed over 20 matches on Facebook Live during the 2017 MLS season.

MLS also added Spanish-language hashtag-triggered emojis for most of its clubs on Twitter this season, and it debuted a Spanish-language account on Instagram, @MLSes.

Schlosser said, “We really leaned in on the Spanish-language side this offseason with all of the talent coming from Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries.”

TikTok became part of MLS’ social arsenal during the week leading up to kickoff of its regular season.

Schlosser said the league’s strategy on the video-sharing application is to use its native tools, create content tailored to TikTok and combine highlights, music and the personalities of fans and players.

MLS is also taking full advantage of TikTok’s challenges feature, with the individual clubs and the leagues coordinating on challenges for each week, and each team has its own presence on the platform, as well.

On the non-social front, the league teamed up with MGM Resorts International on Predict 6 Presented by BetMGM, a weekly prediction game that fans can access via the MLS website or application.

Major League Soccer

Starting every Thursday at noon ET, the game asks fans to predict the outcomes of six matches in a given week, as well as a proposition-style question for each match, such as which team will score first, in what minute, the total number of goals or the final score.

The fan with the most points for each week will be eligible to win a $500 prize, and if someone answers all 12 questions perfectly (the six match winners and the six propositions), they can take home a $50,000 grand prize.

Schlosser said that during MLS’ opening weekend, 95% of people who visited the Predict 6 site signed up and made picks.

Major League Soccer David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.