Amazon has held talks with English football’s top-tier league as it continues its ambitious assembly of principal sports rights under the Prime banner.
The TV rights auction for the 2019-22 Premier League seasons takes place next month and Amazon is hoping to secure some of them to stream as part of its online video service.
Amazon already holds NFL rights in the US and outbid Sky last year to make Amazon Prime Video the place to watch ATP World Tour tennis (including the ATP World Tour Finals that take place at London’s O2) as well as rights to the US Open.
It’s long been thought that Amazon would bid for football too, and The Telegraph cites sources that say Amazon has talked to "industry experts" about the tech requirements surrounding a potential deal. The week-in-week-out practicalities of broadcasting so much live content would be a massive undertaking for the company.
Has Amazon forced BT and Sky to work together?
Allegedly, the potential entry of Amazon into the Premier League arms race is one of the reasons why BT and Sky decided to do the decent thing as of next year and enable all Sky Sports channels to be served on the BT TV platform as well as making it easier to get BT Sport on Sky; you’ll no longer have to subscribe independently to BT.
Also, as part of the BT/Sky deal, BT TV customers can also access Now TV, so you can subscribe to Sky channels on demand.
Has Amazon's intervention forced Sky and BT to work together to combat the threat to Premier League rights? One thing’s for sure, Amazon will have to pay a pretty penny even if it only takes one package of rights - there are seven in total covering different types of matches. For example Saturday early evening games.
That said, two entire rounds of matches are being sold this time around which will be significantly cheaper, so it could be that Amazon tests out a single, full-on Premier League weekend with simultaneous streams.
The last BT and Sky deal, inked in 2015, covered 168 live games per season for a three-season price of £5.14 billion and has seen an explosion in the finances available to top-tier clubs.
The cost to BT and Sky is more than £10 million per game and reports suggest that the two companies don’t want to pay more than they did last time around. Sky will likely have more cash available once its parent company is bought by Disney, but this action may prove too soon for that to come to fruition.
As The Telegraph points out though, Amazon’s annual revenue of £100 billion "is almost three times that of its two potential rivals combined and it could easily afford to blow both out of the water".