After a special stint in the United States in 2016, Copa America heads back to South America next month, as Brazil play host to the tournament’s 46th edition. Naturally, this means soccer fans across North America will need to watch from afar, but the tournament is doing its best to give supporters in the U.S. and elsewhere a more intimate look into the competition than they’ve ever had.
Earlier this month, Facebook reached an agreement with Copa America to produce specialized coverage of this year’s tournament. Facebook will take charge in creating unique content spread across all twelve participating teams’ official channels on both Facebook and Instagram. The partnership will focus on behind-the-scenes, live, and on-demand video with the intention of bringing fans from around the globe closer to the players and teams. Specifically called out is the opportunity to peer into team training sessions and transportation, as well as interviews inside team hotels.
In addition, the plan will utilize Facebook’s relatively new Watch Party feature. For the uninitiated, Watch Party allows users to tune in to live videos, chat with other viewers, and interact with unique content in real time.
Both parties seem to be following a trend in viewership. Copa America Centenario drew massive attention on the platform. Facebook’s blog reported that official tournament and team pages drew 24.4 million views across 500+ Facebook Live videos in 2016. Facebook has also been a central hub for athletes, personalities, and soccer fans alike, so dedicated Copa America coverage should be a natural win. All of this is happening on the back of their recent deal with UEFA, which secured Latin American streaming rights to 32 UEFA Champions League matches for the 18’/19’ competition.
Signs certainly point to Facebook’s success in the soccer space so far, and with plenty of hints that more access is on the way, we will just have to wait and see what else is in store.