Online consumer giant Amazon has expanded its sports broadcasting capabilities this week after coming to an agreement with Sky Sports.
The deal will allow Sky’s customers with Sky Q boxes or Now TV accounts in the UK, Ireland, Austria, Germany and Italy to access Amazon’s premium football content. These customers will need a separate Amazon subscription in order to access the content.
UK customers who do so will be able to access every Premier League match until the end of the 2021/22 season, and German and Italian customers will be able to view all UEFA Champions League matches until 2023.
Amazon’s latest deal with Sky follows its recent expression of interest in competing for the broadcasting rights for the English Rugby Premiership, which could see a potential bidding war with the current broadcaster BT Sport.
London Irish owner Mark Crossland confirmed that ‘there’s been two or three hats thrown into the ring and Amazon has been one of them,’ but made no comment on whether or not he supports the company’s bidding interest.
On the other hand, Chief Executive of the Rugby Football Union Bill Sweeney has welcomed Amazon’s entry into rugby union broadcasting.
Sweeney said that the company’s coverage of the Autumn Nations Cup had ‘gone very well’ and was hopeful that the Six Nations could potentially be added to Amazon’s burgeoning sports broadcasting portfolio, as the current agreement with the BBC and ITV is due to expire in 2021.
Amazon’s coverage of the Autumn Nations Cup led to a much needed £20 million cash injection into rugby union, which, like many other sports, has faced major financial difficulties this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sweeney added: “You’ve got that balance between wanting to earn as much commercial value or market-rate value as you can – and pay-television can pay more – but you also want to make sure the game is available to as many eyeballs as possible, and that’s terrestrial.
“The interesting thing with Amazon is that because they are not so much a pure, behind-a-paywall channel, they are a lot more relaxed about a mix of terrestrial and pay.
“These are all conversations that are ongoing now and as we move into the new year.”