As per latest reports, social media giant Facebook has pocketed the rights to La Liga – one of the most watched football leagues in the Indian zone.
Facebook, who also boast of the EPL rights in Thailand and Vietnam will be in straight rivalry currently with Star India. EPL and Star’s agreement, which is a 3 years long, will come up for renewal in the month of October.
Facebook, who is said to be making discussions with Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo for a reality show, is putting in all the tries to pocket the major and most profitable live sports deals.
The acquisition of sporting rights will take the social media giant a notch higher in terms of scalability and most prominently, will make it the novel go-to spot for sports fans.
Sowmya Iyer, founder & CEO, DViO, stated, “TV viewing is going through a major change. If you look at the younger cohorts, streaming and OTT platforms are the ones that are increasing in consumption."
“Television channels are investing in their own OTT platforms like Viacom, Star, Sony, etc. It’s not a threat, but rather it is going through a transformation because people’s viewing habits are changing. The experience of watching sports today is not the way it used to be, now there is screen, mobile and social viewing. Now with Facebook coming into the picture, I think watching and social interaction - two key things to sports viewing - is coming together,” Sowmya stated.
During the IPL and BCCI media rights biddings, Facebook clears out its aims – that live sport is significant and they are eager to break the bank for that.
“There is a lot of room for content and different sporting properties, given that we have so many distribution platforms, especially digital platforms. There is enough interest in non-cricket properties and ISL has shown us that,” Iyer stated.
“The one that’s coming at sport is Facebook. They unsuccessfully bid just for the digital rights of half of the Indian cricket for USD 600 million, so that was a warning shot you know,” Murdoch said in 2017.
Multiple efforts to stretch out to Facebook on this matter did not draw out any reaction.
The two big giants in Indian sports broadcasting – Star India and Sony Pictures Networks India – which accustomed to jostle with one another to enter the biggest sports properties, currently boast of a bigger and more influential unit to cope with.