MUMBAI: Mark Zuckerberg-owned social networking behemoth Facebook is the latest social media titan to join the race for the media rights of BCCI’s biggest property, the Indian Premier League. Twitter has already evinced interest in IPL’s digital rights.
BCCI sources confirmed to ET that Facebook has picked up the IPL tender and is most likely to bid for the digital rights of the league. A Facebook spokesperson, however, said: “We don’t comment on rumors and speculation.”
Earlier this year, Facebook had streamed Premier Futsal on its video platform Facebook Live. In August, it streamed Wayne Rooney’s testimonial match between Manchester United and Everton. It also allowed fans to chat with other fans, send wishes to Wayne, and learn how to donate to his foundation. In the summers, Facebook streamed nine USA Basketball exhibition games live.
“We’re focused on helping our partners experiment with a variety of Live content types — from ‘behind the scenes’ access to first-person athlete Q&As to live games. We have seen great results when we have streamed games live — and continue to be interested in testing the viability of this content on Facebook,” the spokesperson added. “We will continue to work with our partners to find the best ways to connect their content to the world’s largest community of sports fans.”
Interestingly, Facebook has been seeing a jump in conversations during IPL year-on-year. During IPL 2016, Facebook said that the league drove the highest level of conversation it has measured for any IPL season — 360 million posts, comments, and likes.
Facebook pages of the IPL and eight teams totalled over 140 million video views during the season. Also, during the 50-day tournament, the IPL’s Facebook page added over two million new fans touching 18.3 million subscribers.
Facebook will join the likes of Amazon, Twitter, Reliance Jio, Times Internet and broadcasters like Star India and Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN). ET was first to report that Twitter has also joined the race, hinting at a very competitive bidding for the digital rights.