Manchester United Technology

Manchester United eye streaming bonanza as Amazon and Facebook weigh up Premier League rights


By John Glenday, Reporter

September 22, 2017 | 3 min read

Amazon and Facebook could be poised to mount a dramatic raid for Premier League streaming rights after Manchester United revealed that the tech pair had expressed interest.

Manchester United

Manchester United eye streaming bonanza as Amazon & Facebook enquire over Premier League rights

Any move would turbocharge a financial boom for top flight clubs which are eager to open up opportunities afforded by cash rich Silicon Valley players, lessening their dependency on traditional broadcasters.

The revelation came courtesy of United vice-chairman Ed Woodward during a quarterly earnings call with bank executives on the New York Stock Exchange, noting that the pair were ‘very interested’ in the last rights round for 2016-19 – which was ultimately divvied out between BSkyB and BT for £8.4bn.

The next round of Premier League rights sales are expected to begin before the year is out and Woodward is already rubbing his hands at the prospect. Asked what the likelihood was of either tech giant making a bid, Woodward said: “Absolutely, I think they will enter the mix; anecdotally, there was incredibly strong interest in the last cycle. We are hearing that around the Premier League table and we are also hearing that from a European perspective in terms of interest in the Champions League and Europa rights.”

Manchester United aren't short of cash in any event after racking up record income of £581m in the current financial year – an increase of £66m from the year before. During his last quarterly earnings call Woodward explained how the club was transforming into a media owner.

In a sign of the times Amazon last month outbid Sky by paying a reported £10m per year to acquire UK rights to the ATP tennis tour. The Drum recently took a detailed look at the changing face of the sports broadcasting business.

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