Amazon to live-stream 20 EPL matches in UK

LONDON • Amazon yesterday secured the rights to show English Premier League football matches for the first time to demonstrate further evidence of its financial might in the bidding wars for sports events.

The giant American online retailer will show 20 matches a season for three years, starting from the 2019-20 season.

It is the first company to break up the dominance of Sky and BT Sport, and while the league gave no details, the BBC reported that the multinational corporation will exclusively stream all 10 matches live over a bank holiday period and another 10 during the first midweek fixture programme in December.

While the action will be available only to its estimated 7 million Prime UK subscribers, Amazon's premium service, league executive chairman Richard Scudamore described the company as an "exciting new partner".

Sky and BT will show the vast majority of live matches, with 128 and 52 respectively - with BT having been awarded the other package of 20 games that was up for grabs yesterday at a reported cost of £90 million (S$161 million).

The deal underlines Amazon's ambition to take on traditional pay-TV broadcasters in the multi-billion dollar battle for sports rights. It has built up an increasingly impressive sports portfolio and broadcasts games from the National Football League, tennis' US Open, and the ATP Tour events which it outbid Sky by offering £50 million.

And Scudamore will be delighted with the entry of Amazon as it was his idea to lure either the company or its rivals such as Facebook and YouTube into bidding for the league rights.

Although a figure has not been released as to how much Amazon has paid, The Guardian reported the league did not get the price it was hoping for as the companies bidding did not see it as a money-maker for them.

Analysts at Liberum said Amazon's main rationale for buying the rights was a way to boost Amazon Prime membership rather than looking to become a pay-TV operator.

"Crucially, Amazon does not need to offer the best matches to boost take-up of Prime but only some matches," they said.

In February, Sky paid £3.58 billion for four packages, while BT spent £295 million on another package.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2018, with the headline 'Amazon to live-stream 20 EPL matches in UK'. Print Edition | Subscribe