Amazon acquires rights to show Premier League games in UK

Deal symbolic of new era of competition between digital and traditional broadcasters

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba, one of the English Premier League’s biggest stars Photograph: Getty

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba, one of the English Premier League’s biggest stars Photograph: Getty

 

Amazon has acquired rights to show English Premier League matches in the UK, signalling a new era in which digital players increasingly compete with traditional broadcasters to screen live sport.

The Premier League has announced that the US technology group will screen a total of 60 matches in Britain over three seasons, the first time a major digital player has entered the market for the most watched competition in the country. The price Amazon paid for the games was not immediately revealed.

Earlier this year, the Premier League launched its latest auction to broadcast matches in the UK for games held between 2019 and 2022. In February, it emerged that Sky and BT had won some domestic screening rights, paying a combined £4.46 billion (€5.06 billion) - significantly less than the £5.1 billion achieved in the previous rights auction.

The Premier League took the unusual step of holding back the sale of two packages of matches that did not attract strong interest from the broadcasters.

On Thursday, it announced that one of the packages had been picked up by Amazon, while another taken by BT. Each season, Amazon will be able to show an entire schedule of matches on one midweek night and one bank holiday, which will allow viewers to pick the game they want to watch. In total, it will show 20 matches a season.

Vital parts

“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,” said Richard Scudamore, executive chairman of the Premier League.

“We welcome Amazon as an exciting new partner and we know Prime Video will provide an excellent service on which fans can consume the Premier League.” – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018