Facebook Could be Gunning for Sky Sports' and BT's Place as Kings of the Premier League

By Tom Pritchard on at

Every year football people make a big fuss about their team, and try and shout at their TVs to convince the players to play better and win the league. But whoever wins doesn't matter, because when it comes down to it the only people who win football, or any sport for that matter, are the broadcasters.

The Sky Sportses, the BTs, the ESPNs, and so on. But sports broadcasters the world over should watch out, because Facebook seems to be out to usurp their dominance. According to Sports Business Journal the social network that insists its not a media company has been interviewing candidates to negotiate sports streaming rights.

According to sources, Facebook is willing to give the successful candidate "a few billion dollars" to spend on global sports rights deals. While that's nothing compared to TV rights (especially in the US, where networks pay billions each year on various deals), it is a considerable number for streaming-only content. Recode notes that rights to Thursday night NFL games were sold to Twitter last year for $10 million, and to Amazon this year for $50 million.

It's no surprise that Facebook has its eye on live sports, seeing as how it's been talking about producing its own streaming content for quite some time. Throwing sport in seems like a no brainer, seeing as how it's popular, doesn't really suffer when big names turn out to be sex offenders, and has voracious fans that will consume every last second if they can.

Apparently the company bid $600 million (spread over five years) for rights to Indian Premier League Cricket, only to be outbid by Star network which bid $2.6 billion for combined TV and streaming rights. So it's obvious that the company is willing to spend a lot of money, it's just not quite enough to beat out the TV networks.

While American news sites speculate about Facebook's interest in the NFL, there's always a serious possibility that it'll take an interest in the Premier League. It's the most popular professional sports league in the world for some reason, so if it's willing to snag those rights it would be a big win for the company's streaming goals.

Maybe if they get the rights they'll be able to start streaming matches that aren't broadcast in the UK. You know the ones that seem to get livestreamed everywhere but here for stupid reasons. It's certainly be a big blow against Kodi piracy. [Sports Business Journal via Recode]

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