Amazon is digging deeper into live sports coverage after inking a deal with the most-watched sports league in the world.
The company said on Thursday, June 7, that it has struck a deal with the English Premier League, giving U.K-based soccer fans with Prime membership access to 20 games per season for three seasons starting next year. How much Amazon forked out for the package hasn’t been made public.
The soccer coverage comprises all fixtures across several days during the festive period and will feature all of the Premier League teams, including giants such as Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal.
Coming almost halfway through the English soccer season, the games take place at a time when the league positionings really start to take shape. Results at this traditionally popular part of the season, with fans relaxing with family over the Christmas holiday, can really propel a team onto greater things, or knock the confidence of those struggling at the bottom of the table.
Amazon will be hoping that the importance of these games, combined with the holiday season timing, will be enough to persuade more Brits to sign up for its Prime service. In the U.K., Prime costs £79 (about $105) a year. Besides the live sports coverage, subscribers can also access TV shows, movies, ebooks, and music, and also receive free and fast delivery of orders from its online store.
Besides December’s live soccer coverage, Prime subscribers will also be about to catch weekly highlights of all the Premier League games throughout the season.
“We are always looking to add more value to Prime, and we’re delighted to now offer, for the first time, live Premier League matches to Prime members at no extra cost to their membership,” said Jay Marine, vice president of Prime Video in Europe. “Over these two December fixture rounds, Prime members will be able to watch every team, every game, so no matter which Premier League team you support, you’re guaranteed to see them play live on Prime Video.”
But this latest deal means that the most dedicated of Brit-based soccer fans will now have to sign up not only to Amazon Prime, but also Sky Sports and BT Sport to access live broadcasts for all Premier League games throughout the season, though for many people the highlights shows may be enough.
Competing with the likes of Facebook and Twitter for the rights to show live sports events, Amazon last year inked a deal to stream 37 ATP tennis events, and also paid out for a number of NFL games. In March, analyst Daniel Ives, head of technology research at GBH Insight, described a “pivotal window” around 2021 when many media rights deals for sports end in 2021, giving tech-streaming firms like Amazon and Facebook the chance to battle with “traditional entrenched media/cable players” for more coverage rights.