Facebook is willing to pay lots of money for sports.
That much is evident by the company’s roughly $US610 million bid for the rights to stream five years of games from The Indian Premiere League (IPL), the most popular cricket league in the world.
The IPL announced that 21st Century Fox’s Star India won exclusive streaming rights with a $US2.5 billion bid on Monday, beating out Facebook’s second highest bid. A Facebook spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Even though Facebook didn’t win the rights, its hefty bid shows how much it’s willing to pay for sports now that it has its new Watch hub for live, scripted, and episodic video.
During Facebook’s first quarter earnings call earlier this year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company would try licensing sports games with the goal of “creating some anchor content” that teaches people to think of Facebook as a destination for premium video.
Facebook eventually wants all of its shows and content deals to move to an ad revenue sharing model, but right now it’s clearly comfortable spending money upfront — even hundreds of millions of dollars — to secure streaming rights for marquee content.