Woodward 'welcomes' Facebook and Amazon interest in streaming rights

Mindy Sparks
September 22, 2017

But a Manchester United vice chairman said in an earnings call today that Facebook and Amazon might bid on the European broadcasting rights to the English Premier League (EPL).

Premier League football has been shown on Sky Sports since the league's inception in 1992, with BT Sport - which owns Champions League and Europa League as well as some Premier League rights - entering the market three years ago.

Viewing habits are changing, though.

Amazon has started live-streaming National Football League games this season and in some overseas countries it is commonplace for fans of sports to be able to purchase subscriptions to only watch their team, should they wish.

"Absolutely I think they'll enter the mix", Woodward said.

"I think the willingness is there to look at it closely, to make sure that the rules are being abided by and obviously penalties are looked at. But looking at the interest Facebook and Amazon had in the Indian Premier League rights, anecdotally it sounded like very big numbers". "I think it's going to be increasingly important to digitally engage with fans, and we think we can be complementary to partners like this coming in". Not long after Woodward had told investors on Thursday's conference call to discuss United's latest annual accounts that he "absolutely" expects Amazon and Facebook to "enter the mix" when negotiations for the rights begin later this year, he was asked what football was doing to get a grip on transfer fees during a summer when the market went insane.

Manchester United have announced a record revenue for the 2016/17 season after publishing their fourth quarter financial report for the three months ending 30th June 2017 and the annual report for the year as a whole as well.

The Red Devils earned more than half a billion pounds for the second year running, raking in £581.2m in revenue.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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