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What Premier Football Rights Did Amazon Actually Just Win?

Prime Football

It is hard to have missed the fact that Amazon have scored one of the two remaining English Premiere League TV packages. The other being picked up by BT. But just scanning the headlines can mean you may have missed what package they actually picked up.

The article is a follow-on from my article back in February: Will the Internet Giants Ever Take the Rights to English Premiership Football?

Amazon has acquired package F which is a total of 20 games a year for the next three seasons. The UK rights consist of 200 live matches per season split into seven packages. The scores on the doors are now:

  • BT Sport: 2 Packages, 52 games a year
  • Sky Sports: 4 Packages, 128 games a year
  • Amazon Prime Video: 1 Package, 20 games a year.

But packages F and G are not the same as the other packages, while packages A to E have 32 games each, both of these have 20 games but concentrate in two rounds. Amazon’s package gives them access to all the games in the first round of midweek fixtures in December and all 10 matches on Boxing day (26th December). Boxing day is a public holiday in the UK and a big day for sports fixtures in general.

It is worth remembering that these are rights just for the UK. The Premier league has also announced the results of their Irish rights auction, which is actually for more live matches than in the UK (223). This has been taken by BT Sport, Sky Sports and Premier Sports. Other international packages will be announced over time.

Packages F and G were certainly created to attract a different kind of bidder and to drive greater innovation in how rights are packaged and show. It could lead to all 380 games been available not just the current 200.

Amazon won’t be introducing a Premiership service to match BT’s approx. 1 match a week and Sky’s approx. 4 matches. They have just two weeks of action in the entire season. But unlike BT and Sky, they don’t have to choose which matches to show, Amazon will be able to show all 10 fixtures featuring all the teams. This would not be particularly practical for the traditional Sky Sport service given the constraints of satellite broadcasting. Though, in 2017 the 10 Boxing Dayfixtures were played over three days of the festive season and only six of the games kicked off at the same time at the traditional 3pm slot. Interesting, last year Sky chose to broadcast games from the early and late kick-off times and not the 3pm slot.

Amazon will have access to weekly highlights of all Premier League matches which does allow it to establish a weekly football presence for a fledgling sport service.

“Deal will represent the first time a full round of Premier League fixtures will be broadcast live in the UK”

Amazon has announced that the games and highlights will be free to Amazon prime subscribers. But they could still go with a pay per view model for non-subscribers more aligned with a NOW TV pass. After all the purchase of the package is not to make a bold move to create a sport service like BT did with the creation of BT Sport, this is surely just an experiment.

“All available to Prime members in the UK at no extra cost to their membership”

No one has disclosed how much Amazon paid for the package. It will certainly have been discounted. However, given Sky and BT are paying over £9 million a match, they could be paying around £5 million a game, which is £300 million over the three seasons, which is a lot for an experiment, even for Amazon. Last year Amazon paid $50 million to stream 10 NFL games, which is less of an investment.

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 now need to wait for December 2019 to see what Amazon will do with the package and how the games are presented. It does seem a long way off give the usual pace at which the Internet giants drive innovation.


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