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New deal for English Premier League

Amazon breakthrough into streaming live football

Premier LeagueAmazon has broken the Sky and BT stranglehold on broadcasting the English Premier League as part of a new deal for the 2019/20 season.

Its online streaming service will show 10 midweek games in December and all 10 matches on Boxing Day as part of a three-year deal. They will be available free to Amazon Prime’s UK members.

It has secured one of the two remaining packages with BT buying the other for £90m bringing its total outlay to nearly £1bn. From August 2019 it will now show 52 games per season with Sky showing 128.

Amazon has not declared how much it has paid but the current deal is worth £5.14 billion. While a small foothold, it represents a big step-change in broadcasting rights for football which may also tempt Netflix, Google, Facebook and Apple to compete in future bidding rounds.

With TV viewing habits changing, it is thought Amazon and these other potential rights holders will be bidding into a new type of market by the time the next round is due in season 2022-23. More consumers are watching on different devices in their own time with more interactive elements.

Companies such as Amazon are expected to link football subscriptions to these other services and packages and as a major retailer it is no accident that Amazon is targeting the Christmas matches.

It is the first time that packages of livestreaming games have been offered and it is understood that the growing audience in the US in particular has persuaded Amazon to take the plunge.

Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore has welcomed the move.

“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,” he said.

The Football Supporters’ Federation has already expressed misgivings. In a statement it said: “Fans are already of the view that there is too much live football on TV and this announcement concludes a deal that has pushed the number of broadcast games to record levels.

“Introducing a third broadcaster into the mix just means more subscriptions for fans. We are concerned that the number of broadcast games could have a negative effect on attendances by away fans in particular.

“It is vital that more of these television revenues are invested in guaranteeing the participation and contribution of match-goers.”

How the games will be split

Sky Sports (128 live games)

Packages: Four
Broadcast slots: Saturday (5:30pm/7:45pm); Sunday (2pm/4:30pm); Monday (8pm); Friday (7:30pm/8pm)

BT Sport (52 live games)

Packages: Two
Broadcast slots: Saturday (12:30pm); Midweek (7:45pm/8pm *TBC)

Amazon (20 live games)

Packages: One
Broadcast slots: Boxing Day (kick-off tbc); Midweek (7:45pm/8pm *TBC)

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