Why Facebook’s Premier League Deal in Southeast Asia is a Smart Move

Earlier this month, it was reported that Facebook had fended off rival challengers to acquire the exclusive broadcasting rights for Premier League matches in Southeast Asia.

Joining a growing list of sports matches being shown on social media, our research shows why the leading name in the social space was right to bet big on the rights for almost 400 of the league’s games in countries such as Thailand and Vietnam.

1. Watching sports on social media is a growing trend.

Although it’s currently a relatively small minority who cite “watching / following sports events” as a main reason for using  social media, this is a trend on the rise.

Globally, it’s now 1 in 5 who are tuning into sports coverage on social platforms.

This represents a 25% increase over the last couple of years.

In Thailand and Vietnam, it’s almost a third of digital consumers who are now doing this.

2. The Premier League audience is vast in Southeast Asia.

As a UK-based tournament, it’s easy to underestimate the sheer global appeal of the Premier League.

Ask people if they follow it, and Thailand and Vietnam top the charts across the 44 countries we measure.

Other APAC countries like Indonesia also score big, reflecting the popularity enjoyed by the Premier League and its major stars in this region.

Clearly, then, Facebook has a huge potential audience that it can captivate in these markets, with over a third in Thailand and a quarter in Vietnam already saying they follow the league online.

The tie-in also provides yet another reason for people to engage with Facebook, particularly important against the background of some personal sharing behaviors migrating to messaging apps.

3. Facebook is all-pervasive in Southeast Asia.

In many parts of Southeast Asia, being an internet user is almost synonymous with being a Facebook user.

Over 90% of Thai and Vietnamese internet users aged 16-64 are already using Facebook each month.

Even more impressive is that 96% of Premier League followers are using Facebook.

Put simply, virtually everyone who follows the tournament in Vietnam and Thailand is already using Facebook.

This means the social platform has the power to serve the right content to the right audience, embedding itself even further in their daily lives.