Thursday 18th April 2019

Facebook Grabs International Premier League, La Liga Rights

Facebook Grabs International Premier League, La Liga Rights

Facebook Grabs International Premier League, La Liga Rights
Raheem Sterling of Liverpool and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid—Facebook reportedly acquired broadcast rights for both of their domestic leagues. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Facebook has continued its sports rights shopping spree by reportedly obtaining English Premier League rights for several Southeast Asian countries and Spanish La Liga rights for India.

The social media network is said to have outbid giants like BeIn Sports and Fox Sports Asia for all 380 fixtures over three Premier League seasons, starting in 2019/20. The amount paid was £200 million ($265 million), according to The Times. The U.K. newspaper wrote that YouTube and Netflix were also interested in some of the EPL’s international rights.

Inside Sport reported that Facebook has garnered La Liga rights for the next four years, though additional terms of the package were not available. Facebook is also reportedly in talks with Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo on a $10 million reality show. However, that has not been finalized and the fact Ronaldo is moving to Italian Series A juggernaut Juventus is likely to impact any deal.

SportTechie Takeaway

There’s a lot to unpack here. First, while Facebook has made an entry into North American sports with exclusive broadcasts of weekly MLB games, among other domestic ventures, this latest spate of soccer rights deals suggests a different direction. The major U.S. sports market is saturated with interested parties, so Facebook might have recognized the international sporting sphere as a better opportunity.

Second, Facebook’s exclusive carriage of the entire Premier League schedule is another new development—no longer is the social site a complementary partner, but the primary broadcaster. Such an all-encompassing deal dramatically increases the demands on the stream and its presentation.

Finally, Netflix has long denied interest in carrying live sports. The phrase “Netflix of sports” is commonly used only as a metaphor (by DAZN and others), but if The Times report that Netflix did indeed explore the Premier League rights market in earnest is true, the presence of another big-money spender could further drive up prices.


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