Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Life&Culture | By Ben Goodman

Amazon break Sky Sports-BT Sport Premier League duopoly

Amazon break Sky Sports-BT Sport Premier League duopoly

Amazon has announced that it will show 20 Premier League football matches a season for the next three years from 2019.

Amazon becomes first tech company to win rights to show Premier League games in the UK. The fixtures will be over two periods in December, and that some will clash with each other - although an Amazon spokesperson pointed out to me that you could still watch multiple matches at the same time, on different devices if you wish if you like to multitask.

The deal has been signed for three seasons, bringing the total number of matches to 60.

The structure of the deal is also a first: Amazon Prime Video subscribers will be able to binge on 10 matches played in early December, and another 10 over a long holiday weekend, at no additional cost.

Having already signed huge uplifts in its deals with broadcasters in Brazil, China and the United States, the league announced another global broadcast agreement at the meeting, the sale of 233 live matches a season to BT, Premier Sports and Sky for the Irish market.

That said, it's not quite as good of a deal as the recent Champion's League final, which was streamed for free through BT's YouTube channel.

Amazon, which started as an online retailer, has built up an increasingly impressive sports portfolio and broadcasts the US Open tennis, ATP World Tour Tennis events - where they outbid Sky by offering £50 million - and National Football League games.

Any change to the Premier League's rules needs a two-thirds majority - at least 14 of the 20 clubs - and the big six failed to achieve this at a league shareholders' meeting in October, prompting fears that the league's successful approach to selling its rights collectively was about to collapse, with some suggesting the big six could be tempted to form a European super league.

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The breakdown of that is that Sky Sports Entertainment with Sky Sports Premier League added costs £38 a month, plus a one-off cost of £20.

That could open the door for Facebook or Amazon to strike a deal that would change the way football is watched in the United Kingdom, with the spiralling cost of signing up for television packages seeing a boom in fans watching matches on illegal internet streaming services every weekend.

However, analysts said they probably did not sell in February because they did not achieve the reserve price set by the Premier League.

What does the Premier League say?

Memberships costs £79 a year or £7.99 a month.

The big six clubs - Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham - managed to get the necessary 14 votes out of the 20 to agree that from 2019/20, any increase in the current worldwide rights package, will be distributed according to league position and not equally distributed between all 20 clubs as it has been up to now.

The Premier League is easing into doling out fixtures to streaming video.

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