Facebook bags Premier League rights for SE Asian territories in major sports acquisition

Premier League - InsideSport

Social media giant Facebook has acquired the Premier League rights for the SE Asia territory in what is being seen as one of the major sports acquisition for it.

As expected, the social media giant Facebook has started acquiring sports rights to boost up its offerings. According to the leading British daily, The Times, Facebook has agreed the first ever rights deal with the Premier League. Facebook has outbid BeIN Sports and Fox Sports Asia to secure coverage of English soccer’s top flight in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos for the three-year period covering 2019 to 2022.

Financial terms of the deal have not been officially released, but The Times has reported the contract to be worth $265 million.

The rights package includes all 380 Premier League matches each season in what is Facebook’s biggest move into the live sports market to date.

Facebook had made its intentions clear with an over ₹3,000 crore bid for the Indian Premier League rights last year. Since then sports market has been speculating Facebook’s entry into sports rights arena. The company very recently hired Eurosport chief executive Peter Hutton to head up its global live sports programming division, with a brief to increase the platform’s sports offering.

Another key hiring was done in form of former MD of Eleven Sports in Asia, Joyee Biswas who has been entrusted to boost Facebook’s sports and entertainment portfolio in the Asian market.

Along with Amazon, Facebook was also widely tipped to make a play for the Premier League’s domestic rights this year, with the league specifically structuring two packages to make them more attractive to the tech giants. As Facebook stayed away, It was ultimately Amazon who secured the package of 20 live matches each season for three years from 2019.

However, the Premier League’s deal with Facebook in Asia will serve as further evidence that the league is keen to appeal to streaming services as well as traditional broadcasters. The Premier League’s total income from domestic rights for the next three-year period has dropped significantly compared to its current agreements, but the league’s executive chairman Richard Scudamore has said he is confident that the shortfall will be offset by sales of overseas media rights, with increases expected in most major markets.