Facebook has joined the race to acquire digital rights to live-stream India's biggest sporting tournament, the Indian Premier League (IPL). A report in the Mint suggests that the social network giant has purchased the tender documents for the bidding process.
Yesterday, it was reported that the micro-blogging website, Twitter, is also interested in getting digital rights for IPL.
The prized tournament, hosted by the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), was live streamed on the Internet by HotStar last year. The battle for digital rights is heating up for this year, with heavyweights such as Facebook, Twitter, Jio, and Amazon in the contention.
Facebook had curated a special experience for the preceding 2016 IPL season, with scoreboards, pages, videos and more. Nearly 360 million posts, comments and likes were posted on the social network during the tournament.
Facebook has been focusing heavily on live-streaming content, hosting events such as Q&A with Mark Zuckerberg, behind-the-scenes footage with sportspersons and streaming live sports matches. The social network did a live broadcast of West Indies' Carribbean Premier League T20 tournament. In May, Wayne Rooney's testimonial match between Manchester United and Everton was live-streamed with a live-chat as well.
Twitter, which has been live streaming NFL games on its platform, is also looking for more sports partnerships.
"We are constantly evaluating opportunities around the world to transform live sports experiences for fans in partnership with our most valued global sports partners and this IPL tender purchase is representative of that," Aneesh Madani, Head of Sports Partnerships for Twitter India, said in an interview with the Economic Times.
While Facebook and Twitter have been providing live-streaming content in India, Amazon is set to launch its prime video service next month. Meanwhile, Reliance Jio has been providing free content to its users on its Jio TV app and is a formidable contender given the company's scale and clout in India.
Bidding for IPL digital rights closes on 25 October and the results of the process will be announced the same day.