The Premier League has been one of the first big major sporting events in the world to move online, as it has become widely available across Amazon Prime. This means it is breaking the traditional broadcasting options that are usually found locked behind certain paywalls and channels that remain inaccessible to a wider audience. This change brings football to a huge number of people that may not have been otherwise able to watch it, and certainly provides a great blueprint for the other major sporting events to make a change in the near future. It does also raise the question though, is this shift a temporary adjustment, or could we see a permanent change to an online base for football and other major sporting, and can other online markets support this shift?
In short, the answer seems to be a resounding yes – with the first wave of matches shown on Prime back in 2019 costing a reported £90 million for a three-year deal, but other reports that millions of football fans tuned into the service to watch the games, many would say it has been a resounding success. But there are certainly some caveats to this – the majority of rights for the Premier League still belong to Sky and BT, with Sky paying £3.58 billion for the ability to broadcast most of the matches and BT a lower £975 million, there’s a huge bridge to gap if Amazon want to gain more broadcasting rights, and although they certainly have the resources there will need to be a guaranteed return of investment for it to be possible.
The good news perhaps is that there certainly seems to be plenty of interest and bringing football under one roof rather than three will certainly help numbers increase. Given that other markets and platforms have similarly been shifting to a more online base over recent years, as well such as betting for example, with punters using the ACCA bet for the biggest Premier League games and working out their returns with the accumulator calculator. It does seem to be a no-brainer that online is the way forward and cutting out other services where possible can only help. It has become an increasing problem with so many different subscription services that many are having to pick and choose which they use, rather than subscribing to ten different services, and if fans can only get ten games per year on Amazon but all of the others through Sky, they may be less willing to change for the permanent term. Once things are renegotiated at the end of the year, we may see a big change for football and how it is broadcast online – but it’s certainly looking like the future of football as a whole could find it’s new home on streaming, cutting out the TV middleman all together.