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Facebook wants its pay-per-view model to expand across sports

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FBIn this photo illustration a Facebook logo seen displayed on a smartphone.Rafael Henrique | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Facebook has a plan to turn its live online events product into a pay-per-view option for sports leagues broadcasting games on the platform.

It’s a feature Facebook says will help businesses, including sports companies, make more money in a changing content consumption landscape.

The social media giant envisions high school sports teams and smaller leagues using the feature that allows users to make money for virtual attendance, and keep ticket profits — for now. And Facebook plans to invest in paid online events, the livestreaming feature that lets you pay for a virtual “ticket” to watch, sort of like pay-per-view on cable.

For decades, media networks such as HBO and Showtime have used the pay-per-view fees, especially for boxing. WWE and mixed martial arts company UFC also earned money from pay-per-view events. And the business model is precisely that — paying to watch an event, no subscription needed.

“I think pay-per-view is by no means on any verge of extinction,” said Rob Shaw, Facebook director of sports media and league partnerships, in an interview with CNBC. “I think this is something that