Amazon and BT take remaining Premier League rights



Sky, which has broadcast Premier League games since its inception in 1992, still holds the majority of packages of live-TV fixtures that are valued at £4.55bn. And so will Amazon.

Amazon has broken Sky and BT's stranglehold on Premier League football by striking a groundbreaking deal to livestream exclusive coverage of 20 matches per season online.

It has won one of the final two broadcast packages to show games from England's top flight and for the first time a full round of fixture is to be broadcast live in an innovative move.

The league had hoped these innovative packages - two chances to show all 10 games of a particular round - would tempt the likes of Amazon, Facebook and Google into the market for live rights.

The matches will be streamed via Prime Video UK at no extra expense to Prime subscribers, which otherwise costs £7.99 a month or £79 per year.

The awarding of one of the two remaining batches of rights - four months after Sky and BT took the lion's share of the rights on offer - follows huge speculation at the time of the initial bid over Amazon's intentions, with analysts divided over whether the online giant would mount a bid.

Defending Premier League champions Manchester City will feature on streaming service Amazon Prime Video next season. "In addition, Prime members will be able to watch weekly highlights of all Premier League matches throughout the season".

Analysts at Liberum, however, 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.

"This new agreement will continue that trend with a subtle change that further incentivises on-pitch achievement and maintains the Premier League's position as the most equitable in Europe in terms of sharing central revenues".

The deal is an important milestone for Amazon, but it represents only a fraction of the larger Premier League pie.

There's no word on audio and video quality, though Amazon, like Netflix, has been fast to support 4K Ultra HD, HDR and Dolby Atmos audio when it comes to streaming TV and films.

In his annual letter to shareholders this year, Amazon's chief executive, Jeff Bezos, disclosed that 100 million people around the world had Prime subscriptions.

The soccer deal extends Amazon's lineup of streaming sports events, which includes professional tennis matches and football games.

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