Facebook is planning to bid for rights to broadcast select games from the English Premier League, Bloomberg reports, citing an insider close to the world's largest social media network. The company is seeking to stream games in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, with those four markets possibly being selected as testbeds meant to help Facebook gauge consumer interest before making a more concentrated sports push. A bid for any kind of Premier League rights would still mark Facebook's biggest bet on top-flight football in the United Kingdom to date and help it compete with Amazon who just recently acquired limited rights to broadcast certain PL games.
Facebook is already said to be negotiating with the Premier League over streaming rights and an agreement is likely to be reached this summer, as per the same report. The Menlo Park, California-based internet juggernaut is supposedly interested in a three-year deal, similar to the one Amazon secured last month. Facebook is reportedly looking to boost user engagement rates in Asia, the only continent on which it's facing true rivals. With English football being one of the most popular sports in the region, a PL streaming deal is widely seen as a reasonable course of action for Facebook to take, with rumors about the company being in the running for those TV rights circulating the industry for several years now.
BeIN Sports is said to be Facebook's main broadcasting rival in Asia where it's currently enjoying exclusive rights to televise Premier League games as part of a deal that set it back approximately $250 million. It's presently unclear whether Facebook would immediately try monetizing PL games should it win the rights to stream them. The company's executives were historically quick to point out the firm's core services are and always will be free, often dismissing the possibility of introducing a paid Facebook subscription regardless of the contents of the platform.