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Facebook is signaling its commitment to go after live sports rights with the hiring of Eurosport CEO Peter Hutton to oversee all such partnerships.
The social network confirmed the widely speculated hire on Monday morning. Hutton will serve as director of global live sports partnerships and programming, where he will lead Facebook’s strategy to bring live sports to its users.
“He knows the global sports rights landscape, owns strong relationships and has a track record of delivering results on multiple continents,” Dan Reed, head of global sports partnerships said in a Facebook post. “Plus, he’s worked on behalf of both broadcasters and rights holders.”
Hutton, who will start in late May and report to Reed, joins Facebook from Discovery-owned Eurosport, which has an audience of 231 million subscribers in 69 countries across six television channels. Prior to joining Eurosport in 2015, Hutton served as CEO at the MP & Silva sports rights agency. He has also held roles at Fox International Channels and ESPN/Star Sports.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 3 years with Eurosport, an incredible experience with some brilliant people, both in Paris and in the wider Discovery family,” Hutton wrote on Facebook. “However, the potential to work with Facebook to help the team and its partners unlock the power of live sports is too good an opportunity to turn down.”
As part of a larger push into video, Facebook has bulked up on its live sports offerings in recent years. The social network recently inked a deal with MLB to exclusively stream 25 games in the U.S. during the 2018 regular season. It marks the first time that Facebook will exclusively stream content from one of the major U.S. sports leagues and comes on the heels of deals for Mexican soccer and college basketball.
Hutton’s expertise in the space will give Facebook a boost as it takes on competitors Amazon and Twitter for live sports deals. Both Amazon and Twitter have struck deals with the NFL for live streaming rights to its package of Thursday Night Football games.
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