Neymar’s PSG move is the biggest ever, but Goal and Facebook Live are harnessing the interest

Neymar’s transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain is undoubtedly the biggest move of the summer, and given the transfer fee blows any and all other deals out of the water, it’s arguably the biggest in history, too.

Any world record transfer move would generate interest, but the fact that this was so unexpected and controversial has made this one a front-page story, rather than just a back-page one. Everyone is interested to some degree – even if that’s just to sneer at the amount of money and wonder how many hospitals could have been built instead.

For publishers and the wider media, though, the interest still has to be harnessed. And for, today’s press conference for the unveiling of the Brazilian star at his new team certainly showed how to do it.

Perform Group, who own, have a partnership in place with broadcaster beIN sports, who filmed the event in Paris today. As part of that partnership, say Goal, they have a duty to promote Ligue 1 to a global audience to help grow interest and engagement around the competition.

Outside of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar is certainly the biggest draw in the footballing world, and if it’s about growing interest and engagement around the competition, there’s nothing better for the league. But if Neymar has a huge audience, so too does Goal – with editions in multiple countries in the world, and in multiple languages, the network reaches millions of people every day, especially on Facebook.

And so when you put the two together, you get pretty impressive numbers. Today’s Neymar press conference, then, was viewed almost 1.6m times and reached over 5.5m people on the Facebook live stream, with over 362,000 engagements and a peak of almost 25,000 watching at one time.

Broken down, those engagements were:
Likes – 148k
Angry – 73k
Love – 63k
Haha – 25k
Sad – 17k
Comments – 16k
Wow – 9k

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Luke Matthews, Head of Content at Goal Studios, said, “It’s pretty incredible to think we had 25,000 people watching the press conference concurrently on a Facebook Live – it’s something I’ve not seen anywhere else amongst sport publishers. What makes it even more amazing is the fact it happened without any pre-promotion. Fortunately as a company we have a partnership with beIN sports which allowed us to broadcast the press conference in English to a global audience.”

“The Neymar transfer story is by far the biggest story in the world of football this summer and we’ve been there since the very beginning – going all the way back to October 2016 when our PSG and Barcelona correspondents exclusively revealed PSG were planning a €200m+ bid for Neymar this summer. Since then we’ve followed the story closely, bringing our audience a number of world exclusives, while also spending time with Neymar himself during Barcelona’s tours of Tokyo and the U.S this summer.”

“The performance of his unveiling as a PSG signing on Facebook Live caps off one of the biggest transfer sagas we’ve ever seen and a really successful collection of reporting from our team of journalists. And best yet, due to our partnership with beIN sports and Ligue 1, we’ll be able to show all of Neymar’s goals and best moments for PSG across social media for the upcoming season.”

Clearly the mega numbers owes something to the size of the transfer, the fact that it’s Neymar and probably even the unexpected and speedy nature of the deal. As Matthews says, there was no pre-promotion, but that’s mostly because this isn’t an event which was scheduled for weeks. As a result, it’s almost more interesting.

But when you combine an event like that with the reach of Goal’s Facebook account, the attraction for a broadcaster like beIN Sports becomes obvious, and it’s a good advertisement for Facebook Live as a tool for the live broadcasting of sport – or at least the trimmings around sport.

Neymar’s transfer looks like it’s going to be a massive coup for Paris Saint-Germain and for France’s Ligue 1 as well.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 831 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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