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Facebook inks MLS live-stream deal—Is music next?

Facebook Live will this season broadcast at least 22 US football matches – and as the world-leading social network ramps up its music hires, can concerts be far behind?

By Jon Chapple on 13 Mar 2017

Gary Stevenson, MLS, Facebook Live

image © MLS

Facebook, the world’s most-used social network, has reached a deal with US football league Major League Soccer (MLS) and broadcaster Univision Deportes to stream at least 22 MLS matches on Facebook Live this year.

MLS says the streams will include unique-to-Facebook commentators, with whom viewers can interact in real time, as well as interactive graphics and polling. The Wall Street Journal reported last July the social network is paying football teams more than US$4 million to use its Facebook Live platform.

“We are committed to serving our passionate fans,” says Gary Stevenson (pictured), president and managing director of MLS Business Ventures. “We are working with all of our partners on making sure our games and additional content get to our fans anytime, anywhere and on any device.”

The deal’s significance for the live entertainment industry lies in Facebook’s expansion of its activities in music

The deal’s significance for the live entertainment industry – which has in the past 12 months seen festivals including Primavera Sound and Sziget, and acts such as country star George Strait, exploring the live streaming of shows, which may prove to be a important revenue stream in years to come – lies in Facebook’s expansion of its activities in music.

It recently hired ex-EMG exec Tamara Hrivnak as head op music licensing, and, as spotted by Music Business Worldwide, is now seeking a legal director of music licensing to spearhead its “evolving music licensing needs”.

Facebook’s EMEA vice-president in Europe, Nicola Mendelsohn, recently suggested the social network would likely be “all video” by 2021.


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