Facebook has certainly dabbled in live sports streams before, but it appears ready to jump in with both feet. Sources for Sports Business Journal claim that Facebook is hiring an executive to negotiate sports deals, and that the eventual recruit will have a budget worth a "few billion dollars." That money wouldn't stretch far in the conventional TV world, as Recode observes. However, that represents a gigantic pile of cash for internet-only deals. Amazon paid $50 million for Thursday night NFL games, so Facebook might score access to major games even if sports leagues hold out for large payments (such as an attempted $600 million bid on Indian cricket).
We've asked Facebook if it can comment.
There's no guarantee Facebook will become a big spender in the near future, but it wouldn't be at all shocking if the company opens its wallet. Sports streaming is a battleground for social networks competing for your attention, and Facebook likely doesn't want to risk losing an important livestreaming deal to Twitter. Whatever money Facebook spends now might be easily justified if it keeps your eyes glued to Facebook and viewing those all-important ads.