Amazon just inked one of its biggest sports deals yet.
The e-commerce giant won the exclusive rights to show Premier League soccer matches in the UK for the next three years, it announced on Thursday. It’s a big deal for Amazon because Prime Video, which is online only, will be the only place in the UK to watch certain matches from the most popular league in the world’s most popular sport. In Amazon’s deal with the NFL, the games Amazon streamed also aired on US free-to-air TV.
The Premier League is easing into doling out fixtures to streaming video. Amazon is only showing 20 live matches per season starting in 2019 on Prime Video, which is available through a standard Prime membership at £79 a year or standalone Prime Video membership at £7.99 a month in the UK, as well as weekly highlights of the matches throughout the season.
Amazon will have so-called weaker matches than those that will air on TV. They’ll be “scheduled at points that are expected to gain relatively low viewing figures,” the New York Times reports (paywall). But Amazon’s package includes the first December midweek round of matches and, most crucially, all the matches on Boxing Day. The other 180 televised matches will be broadcast by Sky Sports and BT Sport, which have aired the Premier League in the past.
The Amazon deal also gives British viewers access to more matches in general. Two hundred of the League’s 380 matches will now be available in the UK, 42 more than in the 2017-18 season. Many Premier League fixtures, even good ones, don’t air on TV in the UK because of an archaic rule that blacks out televised soccer on Saturday afternoons between 2:45pm and 5:15pm, when the many games take place.
Amazon has snapped up the rights to other live sports, as well, including US Open Tennis in the UK and Ireland, ATP World Tour in the UK, and NFL games, to grow its Prime Video platform. It’s pitted the deep-pocketed tech company against the traditional TV networks like Sky in Europe and CBS, NBC, and ESPN in the US.
Amazon and the Premier League did not reveal how much was paid for the Premier League package.