Amazon is getting into English Premier League soccer after securing a package of high-profile games in the UK – arguably its biggest move into the live sports arena.
The SVOD service has bought the rights to 20 matches per season between 2019-2022, although it’s thought that the company managed to get them at a knock-down price after Sky and BT bought the majority of games in February.
After Sky and BT paid £4.5BN ($6.2BN) for the majority of games earlier this year, there were two packages left with the Premier League arranging them to encourage digital bidders. Amazon secured one of these remaining packages with BT scoring the other. This means that the British telco will show 52 live games per season, up from 42 under its previous arrangement. Meanwhile, Sky has signed up four of the seven packages, meaning that the 21st Century Fox-backed broadcaster will show more games than ever before in the three years from 2019.
Sky will now air 128 games a season, up from 126 matches currently and it now has the first pick game every weekend plus Saturday evening fixtures for the first time, all screened on Sky’s dedicated Premier League channel.
The move now means that UK football fans will need to sign up to three separate services if they wish to watch all of the televised games – something that will not endear fans to the television companies.
It comes after Amazon paid $40M for the exclusive TV rights in the UK for the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Daniel Ives, head of technology research at GBH Insights, said the next 12 to 18 months were a “pivotal window” for digital platforms such as Amazon and Facebook to secure major sports rights. “We note in 2021, the year when the NFL, MLB and NHL media rights deals mostly end, will be the first major opportunity for Amazon, Facebook and other major tech streaming platforms to potentially bid on some of these rights [in the U.S.] versus the likes of traditional entrenched media/cable players,” Ives added.
“We are always looking to add more value to Prime, and we’re delighted to now offer, for the first time, live Premier League matches to Prime members at no extra cost to their membership,” said Jay Marine, Vice President of Prime Video in Europe. “The Premier League is the most watched sports league in the world. Over these two December fixture rounds Prime members will be able to watch every team, every game, so no matter which Premier League team you support, you’re guaranteed to see them play live on Prime Video.”
Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore said: “Amazon is an exciting new partner for the Premier League and we are very pleased they have chosen to invest in these rights.
“Prime Video will be an excellent service on which fans can consume live Premier League football – including for the first time in the UK a full round of matches – and we look forward to working with them from season 2019/20 onwards.”
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