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Football on grass

Football prepares for the big kick off on Facebook

Football on grass

Football prepares for the big kick off on Facebook

Domestic football makes its return at various points across the next couple of weeks, with the new Premier League season starting tonight.

Fans of other European football leagues will now be able to stream at least one match per week for free from the top leagues of Spain and Italy, as broadcaster Eleven Sports reaches an agreement with social networking site Facebook.

The deal will see the world’s largest social platform become the free-to-air partner of Eleven Sports for the UK and Ireland. This partnership is the latest of Eleven Sport’s numerous collaborations with the social site, with the streaming service expected to be launched at some point this week.

Earlier this year, Eleven Sports had hired Scott Fenton to oversee the company’s marketing and communications activity in the UK. Previously, Fenton was the head of international marketing and brand strategy for EMEA at UFC. He has also worked for both broadcaster ESPN and with the NBA.

Last month, Eleven Sports revealed that it would be launching two channels in the UK in association with IMG to show football from Spain’s top flight La Liga and the Italian equivalent Serie A, and that this would be broadcast via the new streaming service.

It will see one match per week from both leagues being shown free of charge on its UK Facebook page. Furthermore, a selection of matches from other top divisions will be available on the same platform across the season.

Both La Liga and Serie A start the 2018-19 season next week, and one of the first games to feature on Facebook will be the debut of Cristiano Ronaldo, as his new side and defending Italian champions Juventus take on Chievo Verona on Saturday 18th August. In Spain, it will begin with Girona v Valladolid on Friday 17th August, with Valencia v Atletico Madrid being shown on Monday 20th August.

At some point throughout the season, the two Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid and Barcelona will also be shown through this service, and it is anticipated that this will draw in huge audiences.

Eleven Sports will not only be broadcasting football this month, it will also be showing part of the 2018 PGA Championship, which got underway yesterday. It also has collaborations in place with other markets including Belgium, Germany and Poland. It recently showed a game between French Champions Paris Saint-Germain and runners-up Monaco in the Trophée des Champions on Facebook for the Portuguese market.

The sports broadcaster hopes to reach agreements with other major platforms in Britain and Ireland to make its content more widely available to the market.

Last month, Facebook also reached an agreement to show Premier League games to the Asian market starting from the 2019-20 season, with Amazon being awarded some games for the same season for the UK market.

Alan Littler

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