Facebook have bought up La Liga rights to broadcast all 380 of the league’s matches this season across south Asia in a move that could shake up the future of football consumption.
With a reported 348 million users in the region, Facebook will broadcast games for free to fans in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
It is the latest foray into sport for Facebook, which also pays around $1m per game to show 25 Major League Baseball matches worldwide. The company made an unsuccessful $610m bid for Indian Premier League rights last year.
Fellow internet giant Amazon has also snapped up rights in tennis and football, among other sports, this year, with 20 Premier League games a season to be shown in the UK.
However, traditional broadcasters should not be too alarmed by Facebook’s La Liga rights deal according to Peter Hutton, the company’s director of global live sports.
“This is one deal,” Hutton told Reuters. “It’s not something that is a big threat to broadcast world.”
Facebook did not reveal how much they paid for the La Liga rights, which cost Sony Pictures Network $32m last time they were for sale in 2014.
Jose Antonio Cachaza, La Liga’s country manager for India, said: “This is the first step for us. We’re excited to see it and we want make it as successful as possible so we can unlock other territories around the world.”