14 November 2018

Facebook to wage war on both Kodi and Sky Sports

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Facebook could be about to enter the sports streaming space if a recent report is to be believed. Would you ditch your Sky Sports subscription or ‘Kodi box’ to live stream the Premier League or Ashes over the social network? reports that the potentially game-changing news comes via a recent Sports Business Journal report, which says the social media giant is currently interviewing candidates for a role centered around negotiating global sport streaming rights.

The article claims that the successful candidate will be given “a few billion dollars” to develop Facebook’s sport streaming ambitions, adding that the company previously bid $600 million (~£450 million) to try and secure Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket streaming rights, but was outbid.

It’s the latest development in the intriguing world of modern media consumption, which sees mainstream TV networks fighting an uphill struggle against upstart streaming platforms like Kodi.

As we’ve said before, Kodi is a perfectly legal piece of software, but its open-source nature means it’s possible to augment it with piracy-enabling add-ons offering easy access to illegal sport, TV, and movie streams.

We’ve also previously argued that the only way for traditional TV titans to truly ‘crackdown’ on Kodi is to offer an alternative that’s both affordable and far-reaching. In other words, to provide a stronger breadth of content at a fairer price point than what’s currently available from the likes of BT and Sky, whose offerings – especially when it comes to sport – are increasingly fragmented.

Facebook would be a fascinating entry into this space and one with the resources to potentially disrupt how we consume big-ticket sporting events. However, based on previous examples of Silicon Valley giants experimenting with sports streaming, we can’t say it would be the all-encompassing solution most fans crave – at least not at first.

Twitter and Amazon, for example, have both flirted with sport streaming in the past couple of years, but their overtures have been decidedly limited, with both streaming Thursday night American football (NFL) games in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

As baby steps go, it’s not to be sniffed at, but the fact remains that millions of sports fans all around the world are determined to watch their teams play each and every week and that where viable legal streaming options aren’t available, they’re liable to stray into the ‘grey area’.

That remains the problem. Is Facebook currently readying the solution?

2017.12.13 / 14:44
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