After streaming four English-language UEFA Champions League games on Facebook Live this month, World Soccer Talk has learned that Facebook is paying FOX Sports to stream the games.
So far this month, FOX Sports has streamed four Champions League games exclusively online and has prevented them being shown live on television. Those four games have featured:
• Feyenoord vs. Manchester City,
• Celtic vs. Paris Saint-Germain,
• Manchester City vs. Shakhtar Donetsk, and
• Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bayern Munich.
“We are paying FOX Sports for this content,” a spokesperson for Facebook confirmed to World Soccer Talk.
When asked whether FOX Sports and Facebook are exclusively selecting Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain games for this season, he added “We work with FOX Sports to select the best available match-up for these broadcasts. While Manchester City and PSG have been featured twice so far, we expect to see a wide variety of clubs featured on Facebook throughout the season.”
Last season, Facebook experimented in sports video by paying top European clubs to post exclusive videos to the social media site. Barcelona, reportedly, received $1 million for 10 months of the agreement with Facebook. But by the end of the 2016/17 season, Facebook reportedly stopped paying the soccer clubs, and many of the teams decided to post their content elsewhere.
It’s unknown how much Facebook is paying FOX Sports to stream the Champions League games hosted by Rachel Bonnetta.
For the streams so far, the first half of the PSG-Bayern game peaked at approximately 45,000 live viewers, while the first half of the Manchester City-Shakhtar Donetsk peaked at roughly 5,000 people.
While the quality of the broadcasts by FOX Sports on Facebook is improving, Facebook needs to make it easier for fans to find the streams. On social media, including Facebook, many soccer fans this week were unable to find the broadcasts. Given Facebook’s poor search feature and a design that wasn’t built with the foresight of being a video destination, that’s not surprising.