Amazon and BT Sport have grabbed the two remaining TV packages for the Premier League.
Amazon will show 20 live games and weekly highlights packages across the 2019 to 2022 period on its Amazon Prime Video platform, comprising two full fixture rounds – the first December midweek round and the festive Bank Holiday round.
The Premier League joins Prime Video’s growing stable of live sports, including US Open Tennis, ATP World Tour Tennis events and NFL games.
“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, VP 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.”
Speculation around a possible rights deal for online giants Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Netflix had been ongoing since the English top tier sold only five of its seven packages to Sky and BT in February.
Meanwhile, BT Sport has won the rights to a further 20 Premier League matches, adding to the 32 Saturday matches which it won earlier this year. BT Sport will, for the first time, show multiple mid-week Premier League matches on the same evening.
Paolo Pescatore, VP Multiplay and Media at CCS Insight, told TVBEurope that he thinks the Amazon deal is “disastrous for consumers, particularly the hardcore Premier League fans, because it means another destination that they need to sign up to.”
He believes the overall outcome is great for BT however: “Not only do they get more games than they did before, they’re spending less per game,” he said. “More importantly, from 2019, BT TV will be the only platform where you can watch all of the Premier League football from one place, through their relationship with Amazon, Sky and NowTV.
“For the Premier League it’s a bit of saving grace, considering that the last two packages had remained unsold and they were trying to attract the new bidders,” he added. “They’ve done their utmost to bring new players to the market. For Amazon it’s a massive opportunity and a huge statement of intent from them.
“A strong hardware offering, a growing services portfolio including live sports; they are very well placed given the resources. It’s not a slam dunk for them either though. It’s very much experimental at this stage with the Premier League.”
However, Pescatore does not see an online platform like Amazon securing the complete Premier League rights packages completely: “It’s very hard to make the commercials work because it’s not just about the Premier League rights, but about the huge production costs associated with it as well,” he said.