Since rolling out Facebook Live, we’ve seen the sports industry embrace the product in a variety of different ways to create authentic experiences for its audiences. Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona are two such examples – and the following case study explores how La Liga rivals leveraged the product to bring their fans closer to the action than ever before.

In one of the world’s biggest club football games of the season, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid drew the match in La Liga’s legendary El Clásico on December 3, 2016. With the teams sitting 1st and 2nd in the league, the game never failed to disappoint and demonstrated why both clubs command such a huge global fan base.

For the first El Clásico of the season, both teams took a fresh approach to engaging fans in the build-up and match-day experience on Facebook. The Spanish giants adopted a live, video-first strategy to not only engage their global combined fan base of 152 million people on Facebook, but to support their commercial partners and drive tune-in for international broadcasters.

In the week building up to the game, the clubs gave fans around the world behind-the-scenes access to training sessions, manager press conferences, and athlete Q&As.

Compared to the last El Clásico, held at the end of the 2015-16 season on April 2, 2016, an increase in video production and post frequency of 57% helped drive over 86 million video views through the six-day build-up and on match-day.  

Adopting a Facebook Live-first approach resulted in 178% increase in Live views compared to the previous meeting of the two clubs. 

On the day of the match alone, both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid increased Live views by 164% with dedicated match-day experiences for fans.

 

Rafael De los Santos, Real Madrid’s Digital Director, said: “El Clásico is without doubt one of those unique moments of the season. The second the date of the match is revealed it is the moment our fans make a mark in their calendars. It’s the moment where we want to make our fans and the team live the intensity of such an event together. Facebook Live allows us to reach all of these fans, no matter where they are in the world, we bring them together around the content the club generates and we make them feel like if they were deep inside ‘El Clásico,’ supporting the team and helping  the players.”

Russell Stopford, FC Barcelona’s Director of Digital, said: “We wanted to bring our fans from all over the world inside the excitement of El Clásico in a brand new way, with innovative content and new experiences available on Facebook. We worked on new formats with two presenters during the pre-match build up, half-time and post-match, where fans were taken pitch-side at key moments and inside the stadium in areas not commonly seen. We also saw great results with new publishing possibilities on Instagram too, like Instagram Stories with mentions. The Facebook Live Q&A with Gerard Piqué and fans around the world was a great success. We look forward to leveraging more of Facebook’s innovative tools in the future.”