AMAZON HAS BECOME the first streaming service to break the traditional deadlock on English Premiership football as it swipes one of the bundles of matches offered by the Football Association (FA) for its Prime Video service.
The company already made history by swiping live rights to ATP Tennis which it will take over from next season and along with American Football and Golf, making a linear Amazon Sports channel seem increasingly likely.
Equally, it will now show 20 Premier League matches, mostly midweek fixtures, exclusively. It will be the first time two full rounds of the Premiership have been shown live in the UK in their entirety.
The package also includes highlights from all Premiership games. This shouldn't affect Match of the Day on the BBC, though all other live matches will be shown on Sky Sports or BT Sport.
Terms have not been confirmed, but BT Sport recently bought a 20 match deal for £90m.
The move is a significant one, breaking the monopoly held by pay TV channels for over a decade. Under FA and Ofcom rules, no one broadcaster can hold the rights to all live premiership matches, allowing BT Sport and Amazon to swoop on the remaining rights.
Sky retains the (three) lions share for which it paid £3.579bn.
For BT Sport it is something of a coup too, following their recent deal to carry Amazon Prime Video as part of its packages. For Sky, on the other hand, it will represent the first time that its subscribers won't be able to watch the entire season through their set-top box.
Sky has announced that it will envelop Netflix listings into its Sky Q service later this year, but it's likely keen to scrabble to sign on with Amazon too, because BT TV will otherwise be the sole home of the Premiership through a single subscription, which could tip many over the edge to switching, rather than paying Sky, then a supplement for BT Sport and a further one for Amazon Prime.
Amazon Prime costs £79.99 per year or £7.99 per month for home users. As well as the Premiership 20 and ATP Tennis, it has also snagged rights to the It's not clear yet if Amazon plans to offer a separate rate for pubs and clubs who have traditionally been charged a hugely inflated fee by Sky and BT to recoup their outlay.
Football rights have always been a make-or-break proposition for broadcasters with two big-name casualties - ONdigital (later ITV Digital) and Setanta Sports both collapsing under the weight of the fees they agreed to pay the respective leagues. µ
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