Digital giants expected to make huge bids to rival Sky and BT Sport for rights to screen top flight games around the world in new auction round
THE Premier League are expecting online giants Facebook and Amazon to launch huge bids for streaming rights which would bring more riches into the game.
A new auction is currently taking place for the licence to screen top flight matches for three years from the beginning of the 2019-2020 season.
And the stranglehold of Sky and BT Sport is likely to come under huge threat with the digital companies ready to enter the bidding for the first time.
Both Facebook and Amazon have started to show interest in securing rights to screen sports over the past 12 months as they look to extend their streaming services.
And the financial power of the pair would see them become huge rivals for Sky and BT Sport – which is likely to see yet another cash bonanza for Premier League clubs.
The existing three-year rights are worth £8.6billion domestically, with a further £3.5bn coined from selling overseas rights.
It is likely those numbers will increase when bidding is completed in February – particularly to value of the overseas licences.
Facebook served notice of their intent to bid on front line sports when they failed with a £442million pitch to screen cricket’s Indian Premier League.
They have already agreed to stream 22 Major League Soccer matches this season while Amazon have taken over from Twitter streaming Thursday night NFL matches.
Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has revealed the Premier League bosses are welcoming the arrival of two major players to the bidding table.
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Woodward said: “Absolutely I think they will enter the mix, anecdotally there was incredibly strong interest in the last cycle.
“We are hearing that around the Premier League table and we are also hearing that from a European perspective in terms of interest in the Champions League and Europa rights.
“In the wider picture you have to look at what is happening elsewhere. There are not any clear European sales to these kind of partners at the moment.
“But look at the interest that Facebook and Amazon had in the bid for the IPL rights, it sounded like very big numbers for Indian cricket.
“Amazon have taken over Thursday-night streaming from Twitter for NFL. Thirdly the MLS deal with Facebook is to broadcast 22 games a season.
“So I do think we are going to see an increasing engagement from these and we would welcome the interest.
“It’s going to be increasingly important to digitally engage with the fans and we think we can be complimentary to partners like this.”
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