Facebook signs exclusive three-year deal to screen all Spanish top-flight football matches across south Asia.
Afghans To Get La Liga Matches Free and Live on Facebook
Facebook has bought the rights to broadcast Spanish football league matches through south Asia, including Afghanistan.
In their latest move into the sporting arena, the US technology company will screen the matches live and for free.
Facebook and La Liga's three-season deal will bring soccer to eight countries on the Indian subcontinent: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The first match kicks off on Friday.
The social media giant has 348 million users in total in the region, of which 270 million are in India.
The league, which features teams FC Barcelona and Real Madrid as well as Argentine star Lionel Messi, will be broadcast live and on demand via La Liga's Facebook page and individual club pages.
La Liga President Javier Tebas hailed the agreement as a win for Indian soccer fans: "La Liga sets the standard for football in the world and we are delighted that more people than ever before will have the opportunity to watch our matches live and for free through Facebook in the region."
Peter Hutton, Facebook Head of Global Live Sports Programming said La Liga was home to of the two most-followed sports clubs on Facebook in Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, adding that "La Liga has a huge global presence on our platform."
Facebook and La Liga have not disclosed the financial details of the deal. But, according to Reuters, previous rights holder Sony Pictures Network paid a reported $32 million to broadcast La Liga in the region between 2014 and 2018.
The announcement marks La Liga's first broadcast agreement with a social media platform. Facebook, for its part, has already been moving into the sports broadcasting space. The social network already screens Major League Baseball in the US.
Signature clashes will also be coupled with an interactive studio coverage for viewers that will be hosted by Joe Morrison while the panelists of experts to provide analysis for games include the likes of former Real Madrid defender and four-time La Liga champion Michel Salgado, as well as former Barcelona and Atletico Madrid midfielder Luis Garcia, the Guardian reported.
In addition to the live matches, shoulder programming, including a full range of weekly preview shows and highlights, will be offered.
FC Barcelona, who were under new manager Ernesto Valverde, won the title last season with previous champions Real Madrid, with 76 points from 38 games, falling short of 17 points to finish third as Atletico Madrid were the runners up with three points more than their Madrid rivals.