Facebook Live videos, Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid

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The frenetic pace Facebook is pushing Facebook Live gives the impression that Facebook know something the rest of the world is not aware of. About a month ago, The World Street Journal (WSJ) came across a document that Facebook has set aside millions of dollars to pay sports franchises and athletes to use Facebook Live.

Facebook Live videos, Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid
Arsenal FC Facebook page

The reason this deal flew under the radar is simple. No official announcement was made by Facebook. And the receivers of the money did not utter a word about the deal too.

The basics of the deal is that some top European like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Arsenal and Manchester City are being paid by Facebook to beam some of their club’s activities Live through Facebook Live.

Facebook Live videos, Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid
Messi Of Barcelona

What is happening is clear for all to see. Since Facebook took Twitter’s Periscope thunder by launching a live streaming service, they left no one in doubt they wanted to become the number live video streaming service in the world.

Their ambition has now become larger than Twitter. After all they have over 1.5 billion users  against Twitter’s 300 million. So Periscope is small fry compared to how big Facebook Live can become.

YouTube is now the target. Becoming bigger than YouTube seems to be the aim. And apparently they are in a hurry to do it.

Facebook Live videos, Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid
Real Madrid Facebook page

This is not the first deal Facebook Live is doing to get people to use the service by paying them. Matter of fact, they have already paid some top media companies handsomely to host Facebook Live on their sites as well as broadcasting live video stream on their Facebook pages.

In these deals with media houses, BuzzFeed received the highest amount of about $3 million. The New York Times and CNN also received substantial cash to broadcast on Facebook Live.

The deal with European clubs from the documents seen by WSJ show that Barcelona would receive the highest amount of just over a million dollars to show live videos on Facebook Live from May of this year to March next year.

Facebook Live videos, Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid
Facebook Live

Real Madrid, Barcelona’s greatest rival, would receive about $900,000, while Arsenal, through Arsenal Broadband Limited received about $350,000. Arsenal Broadband Limited is a separate entity from Arsenal FC, though they are in charge of all digital and media rights of Arsenal FC.

Manchester City is the fourth European club on the list with a deal of just over $220,000. While the only recognizable player on the list is Iker Casillas, the former goal keeper of Real Madrid. He received almost the same amount given to Man City.

Facebook’s ultimate plan is clear. They want to fill Facebook Live with content from as many big names as possible. The sort of entities that attract viewers. For instance, in the case of Arsenal, fans of the club who have a strong online presence would now be tempted to watch live video streams of Arsenal on Facebook Live.

Facebook Live videos, Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid
The deals as seen by WSJ

As an Arsenal fan myself, rushing over to the Arsenal page on Facebook is now the thing to do. If Facebook’s plan is to get more people to stay glued to Facebook Live, I think they have now captured a certain demographic in the football niche. I see more football clubs embracing this move if it works out the way Facebook planned.

How other Live video apps respond to this move from Facebook Live remains to be seen. Since YouTube launched their own live video service, nothing much has been heard for them.

I am sure they all won’t stand by and watch as Facebook Live steals all the attention.

Now, if only data was very cheap in Nigeria, you bet I would be spending much of my time on Facebook Live watching what my team is up to behind the scenes.


Image credit: wsj.com; Facebook