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Review: Facebook/Univision’s First English LigaMX Broadcast

The day has come, LigaMX in English. How did Univision and Facebook do?

There was a lot of excitement after Univision and Facebook struck a deal to stream LigaMX games on the social network in English. For a league that has done absolutely nothing to market itself in English, this was a huge deal. LigaMX is by far the most popular league in the US when it comes to TV viewers and that’s without an English language deal. The new partnership was going to get tested during, arguably, the biggest game of the Clausura: El Clasico Nacional. So, how did Univison and Facebook do?

Stream

Facebook has over a billion users and has streamed other live games and events before. However, when it is the beginning of a new partnership with a TV network, you never know if it will go smoothly. Fortunately for everyone involved, the stream was great. I did not suffer any stuttering or buffering. I heard the same from other users on Twitter and Facebook. The stream automatically adjusted to the speed of your internet connection and quality stayed consistent. Oddly enough, the video was about 1-2 seconds ahead of the TV broadcast. It used the same video feed as the TV feed, so the announcers couldn’t call on the production team to give them a certain replay or anything like that. Overall, the stream itself was a success. At one point, I saw 31.2k simultaneous viewers.

Announcers

Univision used Nico Cantor and Ramses Sandoval as their English announcers for the Facebook stream. A mostly new announcing team for me. I know Sandoval has been a part of Univision’s much maligned English SAP team for MLS broadcasts. Those broadcasts have been pretty bad but I went into this game with an open mind. Overall, it was a good first effort but could be improved with certain tweaks. One thing was clear, these guys knew LigaMX and the Mexican national team well. They were knowledgeable about the ins and outs of Mexican soccer. They even did a decent job explaining why there’s a guy on Chivas called “Chofis.” Since the game was being streamed on Facebook, it only made sense to make use of everyone commenting on the stream. The announcers interacted with the comments by giving shout outs to viewers and answering their questions. This was great and takes advantage of the platform it is being used on. All of the above was great during the stream but the problem was the amount of it being done. There was never more than a second of silence once the game started. Announcers will sometimes be quiet as the action builds or to take in the atmosphere but there was none of that here. Part of the problem might be that the English announcers called the game from a studio and not Estadio Chivas. This is a case of less is more. Going forward, the announcers need to let the game (and themselves) breathe.

Overall

This was an encouraging first game. Most parts of it were great and the ones that need to improve can be fixed. Getting these sorts of broadcasts right take time. Facebook appears like the perfect place for Univision to test out English commentary for their popular LigaMX games. With Facebook looking to sign deals to bolster its video offerings, we might need to get use to seeing live sports in our Facebook feeds going forward. Univision can be happy with their broadcast tonight but improvements need to be made to grow the audience.

What did you think of the broadcast?