London (AFP) – Amazon has secured the rights to show English Premier League football matches for the first time in further evidence of their financial might in the bidding wars for sports events, the league said Thursday.
The giant online retailer will show 20 Premier League matches a season for three years, starting from the 2019/20 season.
The US company is the first to break up the previous dominance of Sky and BT Sport.
The EPL gave no details of the scheduling, but the BBC reported Amazon will exclusively livestream all 10 matches over a bank holiday period and another 10 during the first midweek fixture programme in December.
However, the action will only be available to their Amazon Prime UK subscribers, which is the online seller’s premium service available for a fee.
Memberships costs £79 a year or £7.99 a month.
Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore described Amazon as an “exciting new partner”.
“Prime Video will be an excellent service on which fans can consume live Premier League football — including for the first time in the UK a full round of matches,” he said.
Sky and BT will nevertheless show the vast majority of live matches, with 128 and 52 — BT having been awarded the other package up for grabs on Thursday of 20 games at a reported cost of £90 million — respectively.
“Sky and BT are established Premier League partners and provide first-rate coverage of the competition through their live-match broadcasts and comprehensive programming,” said Scudamore.
Amazon, which started as an online retailer, has built up an increasingly impressive sports portfolio and broadcasts the US Open tennis, ATP World Tour Tennis events — where they outbid Sky by offering £50 million — and NFL games.
Scudamore will be delighted with the entry of Amazon as it was his idea to lure either them or their rivals such as Facebook and YouTube into bidding for the rights.
Although a figure has not been released as to how much Amazon — who have been in talks over the past couple of months over the package — has paid the Guardian reported the EPL did not get the price they were hoping for as the companies bidding didn’t see it as a money maker for them with just two rounds of matches.
In February, Sky Sports paid £3.58bn for four packages, while BT Sport spent £295m on another package.
In a separate announcement the Premier League also agreed that there would be a change in the distribution of money gained from the foreign broadcast deal.
The bix six clubs — Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham — managed to get the necessary 14 votes out of the 20 to agree that from 2019/20, any increase in the current international rights package, will be distributed according to league position and not equally distributed between all 20 clubs as it has been up to now.