Why Facebook Inc Has Scored Exclusive Streaming Rights for Pro Soccer Games

By Motley Fool Staff Markets Fool.com

In this segment from theMotley Fool Moneyshow, Chris Hill is joined by Jason Moser, Matt Argersinger, and Andy Cross as they discuss the latest development in sports media --Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) recently closed a deal to stream the world's most popular sport.

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For cord-cutters, the one thing streaming devices and skinny bundles often still lack is access to live sports, and that gives platforms like Facebook and YouTube a major opportunity.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on March 10, 2017.

Chris Hill: The battle for live sports programming just got more interesting. Facebook has signed a deal with Major League Soccer and Univision that gives Facebook exclusive English language rights to stream at least 22 regular season soccer games in the U.S. This is going to start later this month. Matty, we knew they were going to jump in at some point in a bigger way, and they've done just that.

Matt Argersinger: Smart move. It follows in the heels of what Twitter(NYSE: TWTR)did last year, breaking the ground with the NFL Thursday night games. I think, as we know, we were talking about it before the show, people are cutting their cord and relying solely on internet. The one thing, whether you maintain Netflixor HBO or AmazonPrime or maybe you have some kind of skinny bundle out there, but the one core thing that's often missing is live sports. And if I can rely on some of the social media platforms -- Twitter, Facebook now -- to get my sports -- and, by the way, I think soccer is the right place to be. If you look at Facebook's 1.9 billion monthly users, about 35% of them are connected to at least one sports page, and the vast majority of those are soccer fans. Which is not surprising, given the world popularity of the sport. So, I like the bet here by Facebook. I think it's the right vertical. I think it's the right sport.

Hill: I couldn't help but think of Yahoowhen I saw this story. Remember a couple years back where Yahoo made headlines because they were going to live stream an NFL game, and we sat here in the studio and one of the things we said was, "This may work, this may not work." But I guarantee you that Facebook and Googleare watching how this test goes for Yahoo. If it goes well, they're going to jump in and say, "If Yahoo can do it, we can do it too."

Jason Moser: [laughs] You know how, with your kids, you look at them and say, OK, there's things that happen throughout your life, and you can look at them as examples of what you don't want to do. I think Facebook, Twitter, Google, they watched what Yahoo did there, and they thought, "OK, that's the precise example of how not to do this."

Hill: We don't want a London football game.

Argersinger: With the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Moser: "We like the idea, but we're not going to do it quite that way." To Matty's point, yeah, you look at sports, it is consumed live, it's one of the most engaging things out there for sports fans. That's all they really want. So, when you look at platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, they're trying to figure out the best ways to boost their engagement. They have a lot of data on what their users care about. We look at something like Twitter, for example, we were talking about this morning, they're going to ramp up with about 1,500 hours of video eSports content this year. And part of that is because they know that core Twitter user base really likes their eSports. So, when you have the data and you can really cater to what your users want, it becomes a no-brainer to start investing in that content, because ultimately, it does boost engagement, and that's a positive.

Andy Cross: Yeah. Yahoo has to stick to streaming the Berkshire Hathawayannual meeting. That's about all they're doing really well right now.

Andy Cross owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). Chris Hill owns shares of Amazon. Jason Moser owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) and Twitter. Matthew Argersinger owns shares of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), Netflix, and Twitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), Facebook, Netflix, and Twitter. The Motley Fool recommends Yahoo. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.