It is now clear that Facebook is ready to pay millions of dollars in order to secure sports streaming rights. This became apparent after the social media giant put up a bid of approximately $610 million in order to get rights running for five years to stream Indian Premier League (IPL) games. Currently among all the cricket leagues in the world, the IPL is the most popular.
Facebook did not, however, win the rights as they were awarded to 21st Century Fox-owned Star India which had put in a bid of $2.5 billion. Star India’s bid was for both online streaming and traditional television rights. The bid by Facebook was the second highest. Other tech companies that are understood to have considered bidding for the IPL rights include Yahoo, Twitter and Amazon. TV rights for the IPL were previously held by Sony Pictures which had bid $1.6 million this time round.
Most popular sport
Getting the rights to stream IPL cricket matches would have been a big win for Facebook as the sport enjoys immense popularity in the world’s second most populous country. In the current season of the IPL, the first three matches drew viewers numbering 185.7 million. This was an increase of 15% compared to last year.
The bid for IPL rights by Facebook follows the launching of the Watch feature on the social media platform where episodic, scripted and live videos are available. Earlier in the year the chief executive officer of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, revealed during an earnings call with investors and analysts that the social media platform would bid for sports streaming rights with a view to making the Palo Alto, California-based tech giant the go-to-place for premium video.
Destination for video
“Sports are inherently social, with the power to build and connect communities around the world. This aligns closely with our mission, and we feel Facebook is a natural home for sports content, including live games,” the global sports partnership head at Facebook, Dan Reed, said earlier in the year.