Online tech companies such as Amazon and Facebook are likely to bid for Premier League streaming rights, resulting in a lucrative payday for English clubs, according to Manchester United's vice-chairman, Ed Woodward.
Following the increasing monetary value of broadcasting deals, with BT and BSkyB paying £8.4bn for broadcasting rights for games between 2016-19, it is thought a new deal could be struck up between the online companies and Premier League clubs, seeing some games aired online.
In a quarterly call with bank executives who invest in United's shares on the New York stock exchange, Woodward revealed that both Amazon and Facebook had their interest piqued by the 2016-19 broadcasting deals, with the duo expected to bid in the next round of deals, as reported by the Guardian.
When asked if he expects the online giants to bid in the next round of Premier League rights sales, set to open later this year, Woodward said: "Absolutely, I think they will enter the mix; anecdotally, there was incredibly strong interest in the last cycle.
"We are hearing that around the Premier League table and we are also hearing that from a European perspective in terms of interest in the Champions League and Europa rights. I do think we are going to see an increasing engagement from these and we would welcome the interest."
Such a deal could mean big business opportunities for the financial super-clubs of the Premier League, with the likes of Manchester United tabling a total income of £515m from sponsorship and broadcast deals and ticket sales for the 2015/16 season alone.
Following Woodwards comments, neither Facebook or Amazon have made an official statement regarding their interest in a deal with the Premier League. However, Facebook did reveal that they plan to implement a live sport deal of some description on their platform in the future.