The news comes at a time when non-traditional players are increasingly competing with incumbent broadcasters in acquiring rights to original movie and series productions, and now live sports rights as well.
Last year, Facebook failed to acquire the Indian Premier League cricket coverage, and now the company raises the stakes by hiring a heavyweight, who knows the sports rights business inside and out. Hutton has been at the helm of Discovery Communications’ Eurosport and before that he (co-)headed the sports rights group MP & Silva, and worked at ESPN and Fox.
At the moment, Facebook has some sports rights, including Major League Soccer, Mexico’s top football league and, with Fox Sports, selected Champions League matches.
Meanwhile, Amazon is also mopping up selected live sports rights. Last November it added four years of live ATP Tour tennis, an d the platform also has the rights to live stream Thursday night NFL games. Next month, Amazon is also expected to bid for the UK Premier League rights at next month’s auction.
Meanwhile, reports in the UK press suggest that Hutton would join Facebook after the close of the Winter Olympics, to which Eurosport has most of the European rights, and also after the February 9 deadline for bids for the TV and digital rights for Premier League matches from 2019-22. Interestingly, the Premier League has created two packages of games rights offering two rounds of games for streaming simulcast.