In a move seen as a signal of Facebook's intention to land more global sports rights deals, they have poached Peter Hutton from Eurosport. A veteran of sports rights deals, Hutton's new role will be focused on securing global sports rights deals for the tech giant's Watch platform. He will be based in Silicon Valley and report to Dan Reed, Facebook’s head of global sports partnerships who was previously with the NBA. Hutton is expected to join Facebook following the 2018 Winter Olympic Games next month where Eurosport is the official broadcaster.
Hutton’s coming move to Facebook was first reported by the Guardian and confirmed by Variety based on unknown sources.
The news comes at a time when non-traditional OTT players are increasingly competing with linear broadcasters in acquiring rights to original movie and series productions, and now live sports rights as well. This year Facebook has announced plans to spend $1bn on generating original content for its Watch platform.
Last year, Facebook failed in a bid to acquire rights for the Indian Premier League cricket tournament, and now the social media platform has upped its efforts by appointing a heavyweight to head the sports rights division who has extensive experience in understanding the sports rights business. They will face competition from Amazon Prime who recently picked up rights for ATP tennis and is expected to be a major contender for English Premier League rights which go to auction in February 2018.
Hutton has been at the helm of Discovery Communications channel Eurosport and before that he headed the sports rights group MP & Silva, and has had stints at ESPN and Fox.