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Social media giants seek World Cup rights

News, 10 July 2017
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NEW YORK: Facebook, Twitter and Snap are reported to be trying to buy the online rights to video highlights from the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament.

The social media companies have approached 21st Century Fox with an offer of tens of millions of dollars for the rights to video highlights in the US, according to two people "familiar with the matter", who told Bloomberg about the development.

According to Bloomberg, its sources revealed that Fox will retain rights to use highlights across its various shows, but would look to the three social media networks to entice more casual fans to show an interest in the event.

They could also produce highlight shows and other original content to complement the highlights, which may be in greater demand next year because of the time difference between the US and Russia, where the World Cup will be hosted.

Football, or soccer, is also growing in popularity in the US and a record 25m American fans tuned in to watch the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

21st Century Fox is reported to have paid $400m for the broadcast rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, so the opportunity to earn substantial extra income from social media companies could be persuasive.

However, Bloomberg pointed out that Fox could also run the risk of driving too many sponsors and sports fans into the arms of these digital platforms, which already dominate online advertising.

As for Twitter, Facebook and Snap, all three have been active in trying to expand their offerings and have been seeking deals with original content providers to stream sport, news and entertainment.

It was reported last month that Facebook has begun commissioning original content as it seeks to ramp up its challenge to YouTube, Netflix and other video platforms.

Snap has also signed a deal with Time Warner to develop and produce content from across the latter's networks to be shown on the Snapchat app.

And Twitter announced in May that it had secured content provision partnerships with 16 companies, including the National Football League and BuzzFeed, among others.

Data sourced from Bloomberg, New York Times; additional content by WARC staff

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