ManU Exec Vice-Chair Woodward 'Welcomes' Digital Companies' Bids For Streaming Rights
Premier League clubs expect digital companies such as Amazon and Facebook to bid for streaming rights in next year's auction, ManU Exec Vice-Chair Ed Woodward revealed, according to Martyn Ziegler of the LONDON TIMES. Competition from such companies "would pose a big threat to Sky and BT Sport's hold over the domestic TV rights due to their massive financial power, and could also see another big rise in the clubs' broadcast income." The existing three-year rights are worth a total of £8.6B ($11.7B) and clubs "expect the biggest increase to come from the overseas rights," which are worth £3.5B ($4.8B) over this period. Asked about the interest from the digital companies, 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. In the wider picture, you have to look at what is happening elsewhere. There are not any clear European sales to these kind of partners at the moment. But if you look at the interest that Facebook and Amazon had in the bid for the IPL [Indian Premier League] rights, it sounded like very big numbers for the Indian cricket" (LONDON TIMES, 9/21).