Facebook’s head of sports has refused to rule out a bid for Premier League broadcast rights as speculation mounts that the online giant is set to enter the English football market, Independent UK reports.
The English top flight’s next three-year set of domestic and international broadcast deals are due to be auctioned next year.
Some experts believe it is only a matter of time before Facebook, Amazon and other deep-pocketed digital businesses decide to take on the likes of BT and Sky Sports.
When asked in London if Facebook would bid, Dan Reed said: “The Premier League is a very important partner of ours and we work with them very closely.
“But it would be premature to speculate how we might approach that opportunity – it’s still very early days and there is no template for this.”
Asked if this meant he was not ruling out a bid, Reed said: “That speaks for itself.”
Launched in 2004, Facebook has become the world’s most popular social media platform and earned more than £20billion last year, mostly from online advertising.
Facebook says it has two billion users a month and that at least 650 million of those are sports fans, with another 200 million on its picture-sharing platform Instagram.
As the world’s largest free-to-air platform, the company’s huge reach and wealth have already started to make their mark on the sports industry in terms of broadcast partnerships and marketing deals.
The California-based firm already has broadcast deals with Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and the World Surf League and recently made an unsuccessful £450million bid to broadcast cricket’s Indian Premier League.
In the first six months of this year, Facebook broadcast more than 3,500 different sports events live, ranging from a partnership with Fox Sports for Champions League games in the United States, to Mexican league football games and college lacrosse.