Amazon's English footie foray is a game changer
American giant to break new ground by streaming Premier League matches online
Amazon will become the first Internet streaming service to show live Premier League football in a move that threatens to transform the broadcasting landscape in British sport.
Fans will now have to pay as much as £1,000 to watch all live matches in the 2019-20 season after Amazon shattered the longstanding duopoly on Premier League rights held by Sky and BT.
The US giant, which has secured one of two packages of live action from 2019 to 2022, will show an entire round of midweek games and all 10 matches on Boxing Day.
The sale of the final two packages, first revealed by The Daily Telegraph, has confirmed that the Premier League will receive its first revenue cut on domestic rights as it faces up to a shortfall of £500-million compared with the previous broadcasting deal.Amazon, which will also show weekly highlights of all Premier League games, did not reveal how much it had paid for the package, but analysts said the company was likely to have invested a similar amount to the £90-million that BT had spent on the final package.
On that basis, the Premier League’s total domestic broadcasting income for the three seasons will be £4.64-billion, a cut of £496-million from the previous broadcasting cycle.
The drop is largely a result of BT and Sky’s agreement in February to pay £4.46-billion for five of the seven Premier League packages, £640-million less than under their previous three-year contracts.
Amazon’s matches will be available to view on its Prime Video service, which costs £79 per year or £7.99 per month.
Premier League fans will now have to sign up for three separate services if they want to follow all live broadcast matches in the division. The cost of watching all Premier League matches in the 2019 season alone now starts at £966.59, according to price comparison experts at uSwitch.Amazon’s interest in entering the football market was revealed by The Daily Telegraph in January. The deal with the Premier League comes a year after it signalled its intent to enter the UK market for live sport by paying about £30-million for exclusive UK rights to the US Open tennis tournament. It also obtained the UK rights to the ATP World Tour after outbidding Sky.
“Amazon is an exciting new partner for the Premier League and we are very pleased they have chosen to invest in these rights,” said Richard Scudamore, the Premier League’s executive chairperson.
Experts claimed that Amazon’s arrival could lead to a seismic bidding war in the next broadcasting cycle.
“Dependent on how the next three years go, this may presage an even bigger bidding war next time around,” said Professor Chris Brady, director of the Centre of Sports Business at the University of Salford.
“Amazon are dipping their toes in the water and if it works they and the other streaming players will want to be major players next time.”
– © The Daily Telegraph