Woodward 'welcomes' Facebook and Amazon interest in streaming rights

Amazon 'likely' to bid for Premier League TV rights

EXECUTIVE vice-chair Ed Woodward believes new media providers including Facebook and Amazon could well usurp traditional forms of media to win Premier League and Champions League broadcasting rights in the near future.

A frenzied auction for Britain's most valuable sports rights would nearly certainly lead to another spike in the value of a deal already worth an eye-watering £8.6 billion, and while the mere thought might elicit sweaty palms in the corridors of power at Sky and BT Sport, clubs, not to mention players, will doubtless be rubbing their hands in feverish anticipation of the riches to come.

"We will welcome the interest as it is important to digitally engage with fans and we think we can be complementary to partners like these coming in to the mix", Woodward added. "Anecdotally there was incredibly strong interest in the last cycle".

Woodward welcomed signs that groups such as Facebook and Amazon were interested in streaming rights for live sports, a move that could drive values ever higher.

"We are hearing that around the Premier League table but we're also hearing that from a European perspective as well, in terms of interest in the Champions League and in Europa rights". Facebook has also started streaming Major League Soccer games this season.

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"So there is nothing concrete that is going on at the moment, but I do think there is a noise level that has increased since August".

The club, whose top players include Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku - the latter signed from Everton in the last summer break for an initial £75m - are now joint top of the Premier League with local rivals Manchester City. Total turnover jumped 13 percent to a record 581.2 million pounds during Jose Mourinho's first year as manager.

United reported core profit of 199.8 million pounds in the year to the end of June.

United won the League Cup and the Europa League last season, earning a spot in the Champions League for this season despite finishing sixth in the Premier League.

The club turnover was 784 million US dollars with profits of 109 million USA dollars, accounts for the year ending June 2017 show.

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