Facebook is continuing its push to add more live sports to its platform by locking in a multiyear deal for Premier League soccer rights in Southeast Asia.
According to The Times, Facebook paid £200 million ($264.4 million) to broadcast matches in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos from 2019 to 2022. That includes all 380 matches in 2019.
Facebook reportedly beating out BeIn Sports and Fox Sports Asia signals an emerging trend of big digital media companies competing for and winning major live sports rights. The Facebook Premier League deal follows Amazon’s announcement last month that it had signed a three-year deal with the Premier League to livestream 20 matches per year in Britain.
“We are always looking to add more value to Prime, and we’re delighted to now offer, for the first time, live Premier League matches to Prime members at no extra cost to their membership,” said Jay Marine, vice president of Prime Video in Europe, in a statement. “The Premier League is the most watched sports league in the world. Over these two December fixture rounds Prime members will be able to watch every team, every game, so no matter which Premier League team you support, you’re guaranteed to see them play live on Prime Video.”
For Facebook, the Premier League deal marks a bit of a turnaround from the company’s recent failed attempt to bid for cricket rights in India.
At the beginning of the year, Facebook hired Peter Hutton, CEO of Discovery-owned Eurosport, to head up its live sports licensing rights efforts. Hutton is tasked with spending Facebook’s live sports war chest, which reportedly totals around “few billion dollars.”
In the U.S., Facebook has been able to put together several streaming deals with major sports leagues. This season, Facebook will be livestreaming 25 Major League Baseball games. Most recently, Facebook signed a deal with Golden Boy Promotions to livestream boxing matches.