(Source: La Liga Facebook Page)

Facebook Wins Deal to Show Top-Flight Spanish Soccer in India

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. has bought exclusive live rights to show top-flight Spanish league soccer in the Indian subcontinent, as it steps up a challenge to traditional broadcasters of the world’s most popular sport.

Under the three-year agreement -- its first direct deal with a major soccer league -- the social media giant will carry La Liga games in eight countries including India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the Spanish league said in a statement.

Facebook wants to be a serious player in world sport to get users spending more time on its platform. Earlier this year, it hired Eurosport Chief Executive Officer Peter Hutton to help it broker worldwide live-streaming deals. Last year, Facebook bid $600 million to stream Indian cricket but lost to Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc.

This weekend in the U.K., Facebook will show a match each from La Liga and Italy’s Serie A under a deal with the sports broadcaster and rights holder Eleven Sports. The Italian match is scheduled to be superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s debut in Italian soccer with his new club Juventus.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.