Sports media companies can breath a sigh of relief. At least for a little while. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the social media giant may dabble into some sports programming, but it’s not a large part of his company’s future plans.
That can always change of course. But for now, sports media operators such as ESPN, FOX Sports 1, NBC, CBS, and Turner can breathe a sigh of relief not having to worry about outbidding Facebook for play by play rights, content, and high-profile personalities.
The news is also a positive for companies like Twitter, Amazon, and Verizon who have demonstrated an interest in expanding their sports programming offerings. How the news affects the future plans of major companies like Apple, Google, and Netflix remains to be seen.
If there’s a short-term loser over the news, it’s the professional sports leagues. Having Facebook jump into the mix for their live programming would certainly elevate the competitive battle and increase price and demand. But that doesn’t appear to suit the tastes of Facebook’s top boss.
“The long-term goal is actually not to be paying for specific content like that,” said Zuckerberg.
During an earnings call, Zuckerberg mentioned that the company would make a few strategic investments in “anchor content,” but long-form video remained a higher priority.
Facebook did get involved in the bidding for for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football streaming package. That deal ultimately went to Amazon. Consideration was also given to streaming an MLB game of the week but it never materialized.
Presently the company has 1.94 billion people using its platform on a monthly basis. Aside from making smaller commitments to stream Major League Soccer, Mexico’s professional soccer league and high school football games, the social media company has shown its willing to dip its toe into the sports waters, but it’s not quite ready to dive in just yet.