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Facebook eyes sports for its next push in online events

A pay-per-view-like option for sports leagues wouldn't be out of the question, apparently.


The next sports event you watch may be on Facebook. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Facebook reportedly plans to expand its paid online events product by offering a pay-per-view option for sports leagues to air games on the social network. It envisions the tool being used by high school sports teams and smaller leagues to sell virtual tickets to events and keep the profits, according to a CNBC interview with Facebook executives published Wednesday. 

"I think pay-per-view is by no means on any verge of extinction," said Rob Shaw, director of sports media and league partnerships at Facebook, told CNBC. "I think this is something that helps breathe new life into it. People are willing to pay to experience a moment."

The social network launched its paid online events product last summer, inviting some people running Facebook pages to use tools designed to create, promote, host and monetize virtual live events. Since launch, event hosts have received 100% of revenue from ticket sales through Facebook Pay. However, that is set to expire in August, after which Facebook may take a cut. 

Facebook is reportedly targeting smaller leagues and sports events since the top sports leagues -- such as the National Football League and National Basketball Association -- are restricted by broadcast media rights. The social network sees potential for monetizing things outside of games, such as team practices or behind-the-scenes videos, Shaw told CNBC. 

A Facebook spokesperson on Wednesday said the company's paid online events feature is available to all publishers, and sports is one area where it's being adopted.