Watch Out ESPN, Here Comes Facebook
Facebook, not ESPN, NBC or CBS, has won the rights to live stream 380 Premier League soccer matches per season from 2019 through 2022. The streaming is only in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
Some are calling this the “highest profile sports streaming deal to date” for Facebook, because the Premier League is the world’s most-watched sports league. Facebook has streamed Major League Baseball games and some World Surf League competitions, but this a much larger play on a world stage.
So why isn’t Facebook working on U.S. sports? Many of the rights have been locked in for years, but negotiations are going on with many of the major industry players. The problem is that it is hard to measure all the potential media outlets and deliver a clean, verifiable number back to media buyers and advertisers.
Facebook has the money; now we’ll see if they have the muscle to move into other major live sporting events. All of this has cable companies worrying about potential cord cutting if too many major events go the streaming route.