Internet giants Amazon and Facebook are reportedly in the race to buy rights to stream the English Premier League (EPL).
This should be coming as no surprise since we are in the era of digital streaming.
Vice chairman Manchester United says it would be a good development for the top flight league in terms of the reach and financial boom.
Asked if he expects the tech giants to bid in the next round of Premier League rights sales, which is expected to open before the end of this year, Woodward said: “Absolutely, I think they will enter the mix; anecdotally, there was incredibly strong interest in the last cycle.
“We are hearing that around the Premier League table, and we are also hearing that from an European perspective in terms of interest in the Champions League and Europa (League) rights.
“I do think we are going to see an increasing engagement from these, and we would welcome the interest.”
Internet companies have been showing interest in securing rights for the EPL with this evident in the 2016-2019 round of bids, which eventually saw the rights sold to BSkyB and BT for £8.4 billion (S$15.3 billion).
Games like EPL are prime “content” for new media companies seeking to build businesses on subscription.
Last month, Amazon outbid Sky, paying a reported £10 million a year, for the British rights to the ATP Tour, its first major live sport acquisition outside the US.
Ed Woodward noted that Amazon now streams NFL (National Football League) action on Thursdays and that Major League Soccer has a deal with Facebook to show 22 games a season.
According to Techweez, Facebook have confirmed it does plan to secure live sport on their platform Facebook Watch but did not comment on whether it will bid for Premier League rights.
Amazon on the other hand may tie this with their Amazon Prime video platform.
This could spell doom for pay-TV companies with online users seeing another reason to ”cut the cord”.