Although rumoured at an earlier stage to be among the bidders for the main packages of live rights to English Premier League football, Amazon has been successful in securing one of the secondary, 20-match packages that remained unsold when the successful bids were announced. BT, which already secured rights to 32 games, picked up a further 20. Sky Sports is to broadcast 128 games per season, including 32 matches on Saturdays at 17:30.
From 2019, live and exclusive Premier League matches, and weekly highlights packages, will be available on Prime Video in the UK at no extra cost to a Prime membership. UK Prime members will have exclusive access to watch 20 matches per season, comprising two full fixture rounds – the first December midweek round and the festive Bank Holiday round – featuring live coverage of every Premier League team. This will be the first time a full round of Premier League fixtures will be broadcast live in the UK. In addition, Prime members will be able to watch weekly highlights of all Premier League matches throughout the season.
The Premier League joins Prime Video’s growing stable of live sports, including US Open Tennis, ATP World Tour Tennis events and NFL games, all currently available to watch on Prime Video in the UK at no extra cost to a Prime membership. Premier League matches will also be available alongside Prime Video’s critically acclaimed and award winning Prime Original drama, comedy and sports docu-series.
“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.”
“Amazon is an exciting new partner for the Premier League and we are very pleased they have chosen to invest in these rights,” commented Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore. “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.”
“We are extremely pleased that Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon have invested in these rights and all view the Premier League and our clubs as vital parts of their live sports offerings. Sky and BT are established Premier League partners and provide first-rate coverage of the competition through their live-match broadcasts and comprehensive programming. We welcome Amazon as an exciting new partner and we know Prime Video will provide an excellent service on which fans can consume the Premier League.
“The interest in our UK rights is testament to the fantastic competition delivered by our clubs. This outcome will support their continued efforts to put on the best possible football and use their popularity and reach to have a positive impact on the sport and beyond.”
“For consumers this is disastrous as it means another provider that they will need to sign up,” noted Paolo Pescatore, VP, Multiplay and Media, CCS Insight. “In contrast, the Premier League will be delighted with this outcome after having secured a leading online giant. With Amazon’s rival, this could well be the last time that both BT and Sky own the live Premier League rights in the UK, with Richard Scudamore keen to attract more online players to the table.”
“Overall, this is also great news for BT with its TV platform the only place where users can watch all the Premier League matches from 2019, thanks to its content relationships with Amazon and Sky (for Now TV). And let’s not forget it has secured more games and the cost per game has come down. The Premier League rights is a great addition to the ATP tennis rights it secured last year. Both come into effect next year – rivals, should watch out!”
“However, despite having deep pockets, Amazon’s current business model is unsustainable to support the acquisition of costly live sports rights in the long term. Yes, prices will increase, but Amazon will have to do more. We believe that Amazon will introduce a new sports channel bundle for Prime subscribers. Also, it could seek to introduce advertising to support its push into linear TV. Another option could be events-based advertising. This way it will benefit from new streams of revenue. Undoubtedly, Amazon is pulling together a strong and growing set of live TV rights to complement its vast content relationship.”
“We should not forget that Sky is still dominant provider and the home of Premier League football.”