Facebook has signed a four-year deal with the International Cricket Council (ICC) as its exclusive digital content rights partner for short clips in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The deal also includes match recaps, in-play key moments, other match and feature content, and post-match recaps for the rest of the world until 2023. It marks a win for Facebook, which has been looking at sports as its significant growth area.
It gives Facebook exclusive clip rights for ICC events, including the 2023 World Cup in India, in the Indian subcontinent, and non-exclusive for the rest of the world. “With Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, the ICC has an exceptional opportunity to leverage our family of apps to serve sports fans, as well as bring in an entirely new generation of fans. Every day, people come to our platforms to talk about, and form friendships around cricket. With this deal, we will be able to serve these fans with premium content that can ignite new conversations, connections and followership,” said Ajit Mohan, VP and managing director, Facebook India.
Facebook won the bid for a tender announced by the ICC last month for a digital content package of 12 ICC events over the next four years. As part of the deal, the ICC will produce 20,000 individual clips, delivering more than 500 hours of content to partners. The transaction amount was not disclosed. This is not the first time Facebook bid for digital rights to a sporting event. It bid $600 million in 2017 to get streaming rights for the IPL, which was eventually won by Hotstar. “Throughout the bid process, we received tremendous interest from a range of platforms, all of which recognise the phenomenal reach of cricket. In Facebook, we have a genuine partner which shares our ambition to continue to grow and deepen engagement with cricket fans globally using its platforms,” said ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney.
ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, which concluded on 14 July, recorded 3.6 billion views of the video content across ICC’s digital platforms, with a further 1 billion views through ICC’s official digital clips licensees. Facebook has won the rights for such clips, which could likely draw more views on Instagram, which has popular short video content.
“You have to believe that AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) will fundamentally create new experiences, including for things that have massive engagement and followership, like cricket, or sports in general,” Mohan said.
The Indian sports market holds promise and this sector will continue to attract global investments, consultancy Deloitte said in a report on technology, media and telecommunications predictions last year.