Facebook is willing to pay lots of money for sports.
That much is evident by the company’s roughly $610 million bid for the rights to stream five years of games from the Indian Premier League, the most popular cricket league in the world.
The IPL announced that 21st Century Fox’s Star India won exclusive streaming rights with a $2.5 billion bid on Monday. Facebook posted the second-highest bid. A Facebook representative confirmed to Business Insider that the company bid on the rights but declined to comment further.
Even though Facebook didn’t win the rights, its hefty bid shows how much it’s willing to pay for sports now that it has its new Watch hub for live, scripted, and episodic video.
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) September 5, 2017
During Facebook’s first-quarter earnings call earlier this year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company would try licensing sports games with the goal of “creating some anchor content” that teaches people to think of Facebook as a destination for premium video.
Facebook eventually wants all of its shows and content deals to move to an ad-revenue-sharing model, but right now it’s clearly comfortable spending money upfront – even hundreds of millions of dollars – to secure streaming rights for marquee content.