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Facebook signs Australian content deals with AFL, NRL and Cricket

Facebook has secured key content deals with the NRL, AFL and Cricket Australia in a move that will increase speculation the social media giant could bid for more significant sports rights in the future.

The newly signed agreement between the sporting codes and Facebook Australia means video highlights of the sports will be shown on the social media platform, with extra content placed on video streaming platform Facebook Watch. The content includes live original programs, some matches, women’s and men’s game highlights and weekly wrap up shows.

Australian sports broadcast rights are highly contested between free-to-air broadcasters Nine Entertainment Co, Seven West Media and Network Ten, and pay-TV platform Foxtel. There has been an increased focus from media companies to secure sports deals that include digital and streaming rights. Nine is the owner of this masthead.

But with audiences increasingly turning to cheaper streaming options and after a series of record deals, including a $1.2 billion multi-year agreement between News Corp’s Foxtel, Seven and Cricket Australia, some media industry executives believe prices for sports rights have reached a ceiling.

Facebook Australia head of sports partnerships Joyee Biswas said it was “too early to say” whether the social media giant might move into the live streaming of traditionally broadcasted sport in the future.

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