Facebook’s failed $610 million dollar bid to stream the India Premier League, a popular cricket league, raises a basic question: Why did Facebook bid in the first place? It’s a social media company, not a sports broadcasting company.
The bid is an indication of Facebook’s evolution from a social media platform to a global entertainment and connection platform, shifting from a website where you check in with your friends and family to a website where you read the news, watch videos, shop and much more. Per CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s overarching goals for the platform are to “connect everyone, understand the world and help build the knowledge economy.”
Facebook’s entrance into sports business accomplishes two goals vital to its brand growth: gaining new users and keeping current users connected and engaged. Engagement is a hot topic for any social media platform. The key to Facebook’s longevity (or any social platform, really) is to keep users returning and exploring new features—ultimately deepening their usage. If Facebook isn’t constantly evolving, it risks becoming stale.