Amazon finally secured a package of English Premier League soccer rights for its U.K.-based Prime members on Thursday. The tech giant will provide exclusive broadcasts of 20 matches in each of three seasons, beginning in 2019-20: a 10-match round of midweek fixtures in December and the complete set of matches on Boxing Day (a festive British holiday one day after Christmas). This is the first time an entire round of matches will air live.
Terms of Amazon’s deal were not disclosed, but BT Sport bought the remaining 20-match package for £90 million ($121 million), although the deals are not identical because of the differing dates included.
“Amazon is an exciting new partner for the Premier League and we are very pleased they have chosen to invest in these rights,” said Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore in a press release. “Prime Video will be an excellent service on which fans can consume live Premier League football—including for the first time in the U.K., a full round of matches—and we look forward to working with them from season 2019-20 onwards.”
This the highest profile rights acquisition of Amazon’s serial entry into the U.K. market. Prime Video already airs U.S. Open Tennis, ATP World Tour Tennis events, NFL games and AVP Beach Volleyball. Amazon’s docuseries “All or Nothing” will also include a behind-the-scenes profile of Premier League champion Manchester City. An executive with a Premier League club ignited rumors of Amazon’s interest last September when he told bank executives that he expected a bid from the Seattle-based company (as well as Facebook).
“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,” Jay Marine, Amazon’s VP of Prime Video in Europe, said in the release.
When discussing these remaining Premier League rights packages recently, DAZN CEO James Rushton said they were not attractive to his service—which does not already have any rights in that country—because they only included matches on two days.
For Amazon, however, these rights are an important stake in the U.K.’s live sports market as a building block on top of the tennis, football and volleyball content it has already accumulated. As The Verge astutely noted, these Premier League matches are in December, which coincides well with a big shopping season. That synergy is sure to make a Prime membership even more enticing.