Facebook Brings Free Live Football to India, Can it Rival Hotstar?

The social networking platform has sole access in India to stream La Liga live football matches this year.

Updated
Tech News
3 min read
La Liga fans in India, are you ready to watch football on your mobile phones this year?
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Facebook is vying for a slot in the competitive online streaming segment in India, where it aspires to tap into the youth userbase of the country, with its free streaming of sports. The social networking giant is offering free live streaming of the Spanish Football League aka La Liga in the country.

Which means from this year onwards, Facebook will be the go-to place for those who want to watch the El Classico battle between Spanish football clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Last year, Facebook had tied up with Sony LIV to also stream La Liga content, but now, particularly in India, it wants to bring live sports streaming to a wider audience on mobile.

The platform has bagged a three-year contract to live-stream La Liga matches in the Indian subcontinent. Hotstar is another direct rival in this segment, as it has access to stream live English Premier League (top tier English football) matches, while Sony Liv shows Italian Serie A football matches.

Having said that, Facebook will have to limit its streaming to mobile and desktop (through web app), unless you’re fine with casting the matches from mobile to a bigger screen.

(Well update you whether Facebook allows users to cast live football matches from mobile to the TV.)

Facebook spokesperson mentioned that streaming will be up to par with television quality but they didn’t specify the resolution (HD or 1080 pixel or 4K) quality of the content.
La Liga page on Facebook is likely to add new people
La Liga page on Facebook is likely to add new people
(Photo: The Quint)

While browsing through its content, we observed that the ‘highlights’ of matches are available in video quality up to 720 pixels.

Facebook believes that its pilot testing to stream content from 2018-19 season of La Liga has garnered positive response, and now it’s ready to be the sole streaming platform for the tournament in India.

We even tried out streaming a few of its matches, which garnered over 1200 concurrent viewers but with thousands of likes, engagement was high.

Comment and like matches on Facebook, which won’t be possible on TV.
Comment and like matches on Facebook, which won’t be possible on TV.
(Photo: Facebook screen grab)
Snapshot

How to Stream La Liga on Facebook:

  • Open Facebook mobile app and log in with your details
  • Head over to the videos section to watch published content
  • You’ll get notification for matches in the coming weeks

As we said last year, 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.

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.

Granted, most of the following for La Liga is centered in the top 10 cities and some parts of the North-East, where football has a bigger following than cricket. But most of you will agree that La Liga doesn’t cater more audience than English Premier League in India.

This ensures Facebook can look into increasing the reach of La Liga, but it’ll be worth keeping an eye on how Facebook manages to compete and offer an experience which is similar to watching on live TV.

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