Speculation is building that Amazon, or another online streaming rival, could be lined up to acquire broadcast rights for the English Premier League.
Although pay-TV incumbents Sky PLC (LON:SKY) and BT Group PLC (LON:BT.A) are expected to retain the bulk of the packages that are being auctioned by the soccer league, there have been rumours that there could be a new player in online media.
The focus is expected to be on one specific package of fixture slots that are said to be better suited to an online platform. It would involve certain dates where a round of league fixtures will take place at the same time and could be broadcast live simultaneously – which could be ideally delivered via online streaming services that are not confined by a preset number of channels.
Bids for the Premier League rights for the 2019 to 2022 period must be submitted this morning, before 10am. The last Premier League UK rights auction saw Sky and BT pay a combined £5.1bn.
Amazon has aired NFL games
Conflicting press reports, meanwhile, featured comments from football finance experts who have claimed ‘tech companies’ like Amazon, Facebook and Google would not be ‘ready’ to take up Premier League rights.
That being said, however, the likes of these companies have already broadcast sports content (including live games) for the major US sports leagues.
Amazon aired 11 live Thursday Night Football NFL fixtures in the 2017/18 season, with the games being watched by some 18mln viewers across more than 200 countries - the platform is said to have streamed more than 750mln minutes of live NFL coverage in the season.
At the same time, Amazon also has other content collaboration deals with the NFL.