It’s Facebook’s Turn for a Sports Livestreaming Pact, and MLS, Univision Deportes Oblige

At least 22 Major League Soccer matches will be presented via Facebook Live, starting with Chicago Fire at Atlanta United March 18

Facebook snatched a piece of the sports livestreaming pie that has been dominated by Twitter of late, teaming up with Univision Deportes to livestream “a full slate” of regular-season Major League Soccer games.

The social network, the television network and the league said at least 22 matches that will air in Spanish on Univision networks will be available in English in the U.S. via the Univision Deportes Facebook page, starting with the Chicago Fire’s visit to Atlanta United March 18 at 4 p.m. ET.

The three parties said the livestreamed matches “will be produced for consumption on mobile devices,” and they will feature commentators exclusive to the Facebook Live presentations, interactive graphics and interactive features involving fans, such as question-and-answer sessions and polls.

MLS will also produce 40 Facebook-exclusive Matchday Live shows on game days, featuring highlights, analysis and game previews. Matchday Live will be available via the league’s Facebook page.

Facebook head of global sports partnerships Dan Reed said in a release announcing the initiative:

Major League Soccer’s innovative approach to the fan experience has cultivated truly special in-stadium environments, where flag-waving and chant-singing fans come together to passionately support their clubs. We’re very excited for MLS and Univision Deportes to bring this same innovative, community-first spirit to the Facebook Live broadcasts of league matches this season. Their approach will provide fans with an entirely new way to experience a live soccer broadcast that is optimized for mobile screens and social viewing. So even if they’re not at the stadium, people can watch the game on Facebook with a great view of the action while interacting with a highly engaged community of fans.

MLS Business Ventures president and managing director Gary Stevenson added:

We are committed to serving our passionate fans. We are working with all of our partners on making sure that our games, and additional content, get to our fans anytime, anywhere and on any device.

And Univision Deportes president Juan Carlos Rodriguez said:

As the undisputed home of soccer in the U.S., Univision Deportes, together with MLS and Facebook, is committed to growing the sport across platforms and regardless of language. Further engaging the more than 18 million English-language viewers who have watched soccer on Univision coupled with the continued success of our MLS broadcasts, including our record-setting season opener, is a natural path in this new era of content consumption. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.