Man United chief claims Facebook and Amazon could be eyeing up Premier League rights
The next round of the English Premier League’s TV rights are set to be negotiated later this year, and United’s Ed Woodward predicts the tech giants will make a bid.
“Absolutely I think they will enter the mix and we would welcome the interest,” said Woodward, during an investors’ conference call to talk through his team’s annual results.
He reportedly said there had been anecdotal talk of “very big numbers” offered from Facebook for the Indian Premier League (IPL), and noted “with interest” the social network’s 22-match deal with Major League Soccer for its 2017 season campaign.
Facebook’s £445 million bid for the digital rights of IPL failed, with the auction going to broadcaster Star India. Amazon, meanwhile, managed to grab online streaming rights for NFL games from Twitter in April, and snatched ATP tennis rights for the next five years from Sky in the UK.
That latter deal cost Amazon around £10 million, but expect the shopping titan to cough up considerably more for a Premier League bid. Woodward said he expects to see “an increasing engagement from these organisations”, and noted that it is going to be “increasingly important to digitally engage with fans”. So will Amazon or Facebook challenge Sky for UK and European rights to the Premier League? Seeing as the Premier League is a core part of its portfolio, don’t expect Sky to go down without a fight.