Amazon has secured the final UK live broadcasting rights package for Premier League football matches for three seasons from 2019, the Premier League announced today. Amazon’s package holds the rights for 20 matches per season from one bank holiday and one midweek fixture programme. Sky meanwhile holds the rights for 128 matches for each of the next three seasons, and BT holds the rights for 52 matches.
This deal also makes Amazon the first company to hold the rights to broadcast an entire round of live Premier League matches. Usually within a round of Premier League matches not all games are broadcast, and in most cases the rights for games which are shown are split between broadcasters. Amazon’s package however means it can stream all ten games for the two rounds its bought the rights for, and it will be the only platform broadcasting those games live during those two round.
“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.”
Reports emerged earlier this year that Amazon was seriously considering making a bid for Premier League rights, but it appeared the company had backed down when five of the seven available packages were sold to Sky and BT back in February. Today’s announcement suggests that Amazon’s intention is to test the waters of Premier League broadcasting, as opposed to immediately trying to compete with Sky and BT for the bulk of the rights available.
The limited package Amazon has bought will give the company the ability to build up experience in Premier League broadcasting, perhaps preparing it for a more ambitious bid in the future. Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore alluded to fact that with their greater experience, Sky and BT currently represent safer options as broadcast partners. “Sky and BT are established Premier League partners and provide first-rate coverage of the competition through their live-match broadcasts and comprehensive programming,” he said.
He showed confidence too though in Amazon’s credentials. “Sky and BT are established Premier League partners and provide first-rate coverage of the competition through their live-match broadcasts and comprehensive programming,” he said. Amazon already has significant sports streaming experience, holding rights for the US Open Tennis, ATP World Tour Tennis, and NFL games. The Premier League however, as lucrative and popular as it is, represents another step up in terms of the challenge it represents.
The payoff for Amazon could be big if it gets it right. As VAN reported last year, analysts predict that Amazon could use sports rights as a hook into its Prime product, thereby driving further sales for its e-commerce business.