Amazon Scores U.K. Premier League Soccer Rights Deal

Amazon has netted a package of rights to English Premier League soccer games for its Prime Video streaming service, a major move into U.K. premium sports rights by the U.S. online giant. The deal runs for three seasons from 2019.

The agreement gives Amazon a package of 20 matches per season from the league. The company said it would make the games available as part of its current Amazon Prime subscription deal. The other remaining package of rights has been picked up by telco BT, which will play the matches on its BT Sport service.

Pay-TV giant Sky has for years been the home of Premier League games in Britain, which are a cornerstone of its business. BT has also joined the fray in recent years and, with Sky, had already sealed deals for the majority of the EPL games between 2019 and 2022. Sky has 128 games per season, and BT has 52.

Two of the seven packages of rights available had been left unsold in that last round of deal-making, with the EPL reportedly failing to get its original asking price. Amazon has now stepped in and scooped up one of those tranches of rights. Specifically, Amazon gets 10 games over one of the Premier League’s busy public-holiday periods, likely Boxing Day, Dec. 26., and 10 during one of the league’s program of midweek fixtures.

“The Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world,” 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.”

“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,” added Richard Scudamore, the league’s executive chairman.

The soccer move is Amazon’s biggest play yet as it moves into sports, differentiating itself from streaming rival Netflix in the process. It has already secured ATP and U.S. Open tennis for the U.K. and NFL games. It also has a range of sports-themed doc series such as the “All or Nothing” strand that includes “All or Nothing: New Zealand All Blacks,” “All or Nothing: Manchester City,” and “All or Nothing: Dallas Cowboys.”

The Amazon deal is good news for the EPL, which will welcome competition after the value of its main rights packages fell this time. For U.K. soccer fans, the fragmenting rights deals mean they need multiple subscriptions to see all games.

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