Despite being the highest bidder vying for the online rights to stream the IPL (Indian Premier League) through 2022, Facebook’s $600 million bid has been thwarted by 21st Century Fox Inc’s Star India. The Indian company bid $2.55 billion for online streaming and TV rights combined.
Regardless, Facebook’s mega bid demonstrates its desire to invest in popular sporting events for video content – establishing itself as a notable threat to Youtube for online advertising dollars.
Currently, the social network offers live video from a variety of news publishers as well its users.
The IPL is watched by more than one billion people globally, first commencing in 2008.
Pivotal Research Group Analyst, Brian Wieser, states:
“[Facebook’s bid] is still significant because it’s such a large amount of money in a market that’s still nascent. It clarifies that they intend to be a real player in traditional premium video content”.
Despite the large bid, reports state Facebook is currently resting on a $6.25 billion cash pile, which provides strong resources for further live sporting event streaming bids.
The recent IPL bid defeat follows another loss, wherein Facebook lost out to Amazon.com for the streaming right of ten US NFL games this year. Amazon offered to spend five times the amount Twitter paid last year, reported to be $10 million.
First commencing live-streaming of sports a year ago, Facebook has thus far featured basketball, baseball and soccer matches. It also reached a notable deal with Major League Baseball to stream 20 games of the season.
The competition between social networks to acquire these rights has definitely intensified in recent times. Facebook is competing with Twitter and Snapchat to acquire online streaming rights for the highlights of 2018’s soccer World Cup.
Tigress Financial Partners analyst, Ivan Feinseth, states in addition to the world’s most viewed sports event, the soccer World Cup, Facebook is also eyeing streaming rights to the Olympics.