Facebook Live of La Liga: Football at the Mercy of Data Speeds?

Facebook live streaming La Liga football in India. Sports is going digital but is our internet ecosystem ready?

Updated
Tech News
4 min read
Facebook is live streaming La Liga matches in India and a few more countries. 
i

For the next three years, all you fans of the Spanish football league aka La Liga in India will have to rely on Facebook to watch the live stream of matches. While Ronaldo has switched to another league, you’ve still got a host of stars from Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid to look forward to.

But sadly, you can’t watch neither Gareth Bale nor Diego Costa battling it out or the highly-anticipated El Clasico match between Barcelona and Real Madrid on television anymore. You’re at the behest of your mobile, Facebook account and a good internet connection (mobile or Wi-Fi). Facebook has bagged a three-year contract to live-stream La Liga matches in the Indian subcontinent.

The La Liga season kickstarted from 18 August and we decided to try watching the matches streamed via Facebook and here’s what we learnt.

Snapshot

How to Stream La Liga on Facebook

  • Open Facebook app and login with your details
  • Go to the La Liga Facebook page and like it
  • Head over to the videos section to watch published content
  • You’ll get notification for matches in the coming weeks
La Liga page on Facebook is likely to add new people in the coming weeks.
La Liga page on Facebook is likely to add new people in the coming weeks.
(Photo: The Quint)

Watching football via mobile is an acceptable experience if you’re on the move but being restricted to the phone in your living room, will be a learning curve for Indian viewers.

After all, watching live football via Facebook on a mobile is very different from streaming YouTube videos. 

What Does it Offer?

Gareth Bale plays for Real Madrid. 
Gareth Bale plays for Real Madrid. 
(Photo: The Quint)

The live stream (via TV network) on Facebook is available for users in countries like India, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka among others. For the next three years, users will get free-of-cost access to La Liga matches, with commentary in English.

The streaming quality depends on how good or bad your internet connection will be and the maximum available standard is limited to 360p. This quality is not ideal for big screens, but for mobile, Facebook will have to improve its standards.

Watching live matches on Facebook is going to be a new experience. 
Watching live matches on Facebook is going to be a new experience. 
(Photo: Facebook screen grab)

Just like a regular Facebook Live, you can comment or share your emotion with varied emoticons available on the app.

Comment, Like and even share the live match with other friends. 
Comment, Like and even share the live match with other friends. 
(Photo: Facebook screen grab)

We didn’t come across extensive graphs or detailed analysis of the match, but we’ll give Facebook the benefit of doubt for trying something different with this initiative.

We didn’t like that Facebook doesn’t let you mirror the match from your mobile to a bigger screen. Casting, as they call it in technical terms, should be added as a feature on Facebook, without which La Liga might see a drop in the number of viewers from India.

The La Liga page on Facebook needs  better content curation. 
The La Liga page on Facebook needs better content curation. 
(Photo: The Quint)

Also, Facebook and La Liga need to curate content from the matches, if it wants to compete with established streaming players like Hotstar and Sony among others.

Live Stream on Data?

Most of you might argue that paying for data compensates for Facebook’s free live streaming service. The internet speeds in India have improved, and you can get 1GB of 4G data these days for less than Rs 50, but that’s not a guaranteed thing for people across different parts of the country.

Poor internet speeds could ruin the joy of watching La Liga. 
Poor internet speeds could ruin the joy of watching La Liga. 
(Photo: The Quint)

Granted, most of the following for La Liga is centred in the top 10 cities and some parts of the North-East, where football has a bigger following than cricket. But the caveat of going free, for many users (270 million of those on Facebook in India) might turn this initiative into a bane for the league.

Ready to ditch the TV for mobile with La Liga?
Ready to ditch the TV for mobile with La Liga?
(Photo: The Quint)
According Ookla, Karnataka is fastest with a mean download speed of 28.46 Mbps, followed by Tamil Nadu. 
Northeast India accounts for four of the five slowest states and union territories we analysed. Mizoram is the slowest with a mean download speed of 3.62 Mbps.
Ookla Report

In a country with population of 1.3 billion, less than 500 million users have access to the internet, according to a recent IAMAI report. It is also stated that most of these users reside in the urban cities.

With such disparity in the penetration of internet, it’s a big ask for Facebook and La Liga to expect immediate results. The future is surely angling towards digital, as seen with Netflix and Hotstar, but ditching the big screen is not an option, at least not in India.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

Published: 
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!