Facebook Brings In Former Eurosport CEO Peter Hutton
Facebook hired Eurosport CEO Peter Hutton to "head up the social network’s efforts to broker worldwide deals for live-streaming sports," according to Todd Spangler of VARIETY. At Facebook, Hutton will focus on "securing global sports rights" and be based in Silicon Valley, according to sources. He will report to Facebook Head of Global Sports Partnerships Dan Reed, who was previously with the NBA. Hutton is set to join Facebook following the 2018 Winter Olympic Games next month. Facebook declined to comment. Reps for Eurosport did not respond to requests for more information. Hutton, reached via email, declined to comment. He said that he is about to embark on a "month-long sojourn" to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, where he will oversee Eurosport’s coverage of the Games (VARIETY, 1/21). BROADBAND TV NEWS' Robert Briel reported the news "comes at a time when non-traditional players are increasingly competing with incumbent broadcasters in acquiring rights to original movie and series productions, and now live sports rights as well." Last year, Facebook failed to acquire the Indian Premier League rights, and now the company has raised the stakes by hiring a "heavyweight," who "knows the sports rights business inside and out" (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 1/21). In London, Mark Sweney reported Hutton's appointment comes before the Feb. 9 deadline for bids for the TV and digital rights for Premier League matches in the U.K. from '19-22, "amid speculation that Amazon and Facebook might lodge bids for some games." Facebook’s move "positions it as a threat to the stranglehold on prime sports rights held by traditional companies" (GUARDIAN, 1/19). THE DRUM's John McCarthy reported Hutton will reportedly not be joining Facebook until "after the Premier League rights have gone out to tender, scuppering his involvement" in the process. This year, Facebook plans to invest $1B into its Watch platform to "generate original content." It is testing pre- and mid-roll ad formats to monetize these efforts. Digital rights for live sports are "firmly in its sights" (THE DRUM, 1/19).