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Amazon looking to challenge Sky and TNT for new Premier League time slot

Published: Updated: 17:35, 10 Nov 2023
Prime Video could increase its number of EPL games from 20 to as many as 65 across the next TV rights cycle

According to The Telegraph, Amazon is reportedly considering a bid for Premier League television rights, a move that could disrupt the dominance of Sky Sports and TNT Sports in top-tier coverage. This potential bid comes as the new four-year cycle of rights is set to be sold off, offering more long-term certainty for emerging challengers like Amazon and DAZN.

Despite smaller packages of matches being unavailable in the current tender process, Amazon Prime Video has shown interest in at least one of the five packs for the new four-year cycle. This is a significant shift from previous predictions by media rights experts, who anticipated that Prime Video would withdraw from the process.

The increase from the current three-year term to a four-year cycle is particularly appealing to Amazon and DAZN. This longer-term provides more certainty around production investment, making it a more attractive proposition for these emerging challengers.

Old guard potentially unnerved by interest from streaming disruptors

The entry of new competitors like DAZN and an increased appetite from Amazon Prime Video could potentially worry the likes of TNT Sports and Sky Sports, who together hold the majority of Premier League rights. Sky Sports, may be particularly perturbed, as they currently maintain a stranglehold over the most valuable top-tier rights, including the coveted 'Super Sunday'.

Amazon and DAZN are expected to bid for the slightly cheaper of the five new packages, which range in fixture volume from 42 to 65. TNT, formerly BT, currently screens 52 live matches per season, including 32 Saturday 12.30pm kick-offs. Despite the potential new competition, rights analysts maintain that Sky and TNT are still in pole position to retain the majority of matches.

The tender process for the new deal officially began on October 18, with 270 of the 380 Premier League matches per season being sold, up from 200. This includes every match on the final day of the season and each game in the five midweek rounds that will be available for live broadcast.

New kick-off time slots to be introduced by Premier League for next run of TV rights

The established kick-off slots of Saturday 12.30pm and 5.30pm, Sunday 2pm and 4.30pm, and Monday or Friday 8pm are being maintained. However, the practice of selling entire rounds of matches on a standalone basis has been abandoned after it failed to generate substantial revenue through the smaller deals eventually adopted by Amazon.

The Premier League is sticking with its no-single-buyer rule, which prevents any one broadcaster from owning more than four of the five packages. This rule was implemented to ensure a fair and competitive bidding process.

The decision to make more matches available, and more per package, followed talks with existing and prospective broadcast partners.

It was also revealed earlier this week that Match of the Day on the BBC will continue to hold the rights to Premier League highlights after beating out competition from fellow free-to-air broadcaster ITV.bbc

The potential entry of Amazon into the Premier League television rights bidding process could significantly alter the landscape of sports broadcasting. With the new four-year cycle offering more long-term certainty, it will be interesting to see how this plays out for both the established players and the emerging challengers.

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