Facebook signs soccer live-streaming deal with MLS, Univision

Computer screens display the Facebook sign-in screen in this photo illustration taken in Golden, Colorado July 28, 2015. Facebook, Inc. is to announce its second-quarter earnings July 29, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc signed a deal with Major League Soccer and Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc [UVN.UL] on Friday to stream at least 22 matches in English during the 2017 regular season.

As fans increasingly rely on the internet to watch games, social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter Inc have stepped up their focus on signing live-streaming sports deals.

The first match streamed on the social media platform will feature new MLS club Atlanta United hosting Chicago Fire on March 18. http://bit.ly/2mtppot

The MLS will also produce 40 "Matchday Live" shows, including highlights and analysis, exclusive to Facebook.

The games will be streamed on the Facebook page of Univision Deportes, the multimedia sports business of Univision, while the shows will be available on MLS' Facebook page.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Univision decided to use Facebook Live to live stream Mexican soccer matches in English last month. Under that deal, the broadcaster said it would stream 46 matches by Mexican soccer league Liga MX in 2017 on Facebook.

(Reporting by Narottam Medhora in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D'Couto)

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