Football fans in Thailand have been left wondering how they will watch English Premier League football next season following the collapse of a major broadcasting deal. Social media giant Facebook had been due to broadcast live EPL matches to audiences in Thailand at the start of the 2019/20 season.
Announced back in July 2018, the deal was groundbreaking and a first of its kind not just for Thailand but for the world, seeing Facebook flex its buying power to beat local broadcasters such as True and BeIn Sports to the much sought after broadcasting rights.
The original deal gave Facebook exclusive rights to broadcast live English Premier League matches on its social network in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, starting next season for the following three seasons, ending at the culmination of the 2021 season. The deal, worth a reported GBP 200 million, would have seen Facebook move into sports broadcasting with one of the world’s best known sporting brands – the English Premier League – and it would also have further cemented its own brand in Southeast Asia. But according to a report by the Sports Business Media website, Facebook’s deal to broadcast Premier League football has now collapsed, currently leaving fans in the dark as to how they will be able to watch games next season.
With the current Premier League campaign due to end in May and the new season starting in August, time is now running out for a deal to be reached with other broadcasters. According to Sports Business Media, the deal was never actually finalised and the broadcasting rights are now back on the market. “The league entered a ‘standstill agreement’ with Facebook, in which the platform, as the highest bidder, had an exclusive period of negotiation”, Sports Business reported.
“But after eight months of talks between lawyers for the two sides, there were a number of issues that could not be agreed upon and the parties decided could not be overcome by further negotiation”. “The league will now have to go back to market and sell the rights again, with limited time before the new season”, it added.