Twitter has secured the rights to live-stream a number of Major League Soccer (MLS) games on its social network, according to a new report out of Variety. The fruits of which have already started to take shape as the first of the MLS games associated with this deal was shown on Twitter over the past weekend – when Real Salt Lake took on Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC).
The deal has been made possible through the help of the Univision network as it is this feed which is being live-streamed on Twitter. Typically speaking, Univision is a Spanish-speaking channel although it is understood these MLS games will be available in English when shown on Twitter. According to the details coming through, Twitter will show a minimum of 24 live MLS matches from this season, as well as another 24 games during each of the two upcoming seasons, as the deal is understood to be a three-year deal in total. In addition, a selection of MLS-related programming will also be available through Twitter, which will include more bite-sized content such as highlights. While the main games are only available to Twitter users based in the US, the additional non-live content will be available to all Twitter users regardless of where they are located.
Securing sports coverage has become a primary concern for many tech companies as they look to find ways to keep users engaged with their service, and for longer periods at a time. While the Twitter deal highlights this approach from a social media service perspective, there are other examples too. For instance, Google, who recently announced expanded MLS coverage was becoming available to YouTube TV. Unlike this Twitter deal, however, the YouTube TV deal was unique in the fact that the deal was struck with an MLS team directly, LAFC. The benefit of which is YouTube TV is getting exclusive access to a number of MLS games and content which won't be available elsewhere – on top of the existing MLS content made available to its users through its affiliated network access. This is in contrast to the Twitter deal which sees games available elsewhere repackaged for its users.