In November, the Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported Facebook was looking to hire a top-level executive to broker sports rights deals for the company. According to Variety, it appears the social network found their executive, hiring Peter Hutton.
Hutton is currently the CEO for Eurosport. The hire for Facebook comes after a failed $600 million bid to win streaming rights to Indian Premier League Cricket matches. During his three year stint at Eurosport, Hutton led the Discovery Communications owned network to acquire broadcast rights of the Olympics in Europe for over $1.1 billion.
As the new senior broadcasting executive for Facebook, Hutton will be in charge of acquiring sports rights for the company. Hutton will report to Dan Reed who was hired by Facebook in 2014 as their head of global sports partnerships. Reed joined Facebook after being President of the NBA Development League.
Facebook hasn’t yet shown an interest in bidding for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package, which is currently being shopped to TV networks and digital media companies. Through deals with Fox Sports, Major League Baseball, the NCAA and more, over 3,500 live sporting events were broadcast on Facebook in 2017.
Soccer is the most popular sport among Facebook’s 2 billion users worldwide and the Premier League is currently up for bid. However, according to The Guardian, it’s unlikely Facebook will bid for Premier League rights because Hutton will not join the social network until after the Olympics are complete.
“I’m trying to keep focused on delivering the best Olympic Games possible for Eurosport/Discovery,” Hutton wrote.