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Facebook declines Champions League and La Liga contracts renewal

Social media giant Facebook will not renew its media rights deals for the UEFA Champions League in Latin America and the Spanish La Liga in India.

The company’s director of sports league and media partnerships, Rob Shaw, confirmed the news via an op-ed on Sportico's website.

Facebook first agreed the contracts in 2018 and are set to expire this year with Shaw stating that the social media website would be not entering a bid to win the rights again.

"We still have excellent partnerships with these leagues, but the reality is that traditional media rights deals like these aren’t compatible with our current video business model," said Shaw. "We also don’t think they’ll create the most sustainable value for the industry moving forward."

Their three-year deal with the UEFA Champions League saw them exclusively cover 32 live matches each season, whereas in La Liga, every match was included in their deal, which spanned across the 2018/19 season until the end of the current 2020/21 season.

Reports have previously circulated suggesting that Facebook was going to begin the process of pulling away from purchasing sports rights, with Peter Hutton, Facebook’s director of global sports partnerships stating that he was "not expecting any huge investments in sports rights in the near future" in 2019.

Facebook had been tipped to become one biggest players in the shift of broadcasting rights from traditional broadcasters not too long ago and the deals for the UEFA Champions League and La Liga appeared to be their first in-road into the live sports landscape but for now, it also appears to be their last.

Author: Jake Wilkin