Amazon is getting serious about streaming the world’s best soccer matches.
Bloomberg reported Friday that Amazon will submit a bid in next month’s auction for rights to stream Premier League soccer. The Telegraph reported Thursday that Amazon is consulting “industry experts” as it prepares to make its bid.
Rumors of Amazon’s interest in streaming Premier League matches have been swirling for months. It shows Amazon’s commitment to streaming live sports; the tech giant paid a reported $50 million to stream Thursday Night Football NFL games this season, and has inked a variety of other deals for sports streaming rights that add to its growing Prime video catalog, accessible to Prime members who pay $99 per year and also receive other benefits like free 2-day shipping.
Nabbing the Premier League rights for 2019-to-2022 would be Amazon’s biggest live sports deal yet. Sky Sports and BT paid a combined $6.9 billion in 2015 for a 3-year broadcast rights agreement.
It’s not clear what games Amazon would bid for, and where those games would be made available, though The Independent noted that the company is going for “one of the smaller packages” that would stream to soccer fans in the U.K. Each of the 20 Premier League teams play 38 games in a season.
A report from Juniper Research last month predicted that Amazon would win a bid for something similar to what BT had for the past three years — 42 games per season, for about $1.3 billion. Juniper expects costs for the Premier League rights to soar by more than 40 percent over the previous three-year packages because of increased competition from Amazon and other well-heeled tech giants like Facebook.
In the U.S., Premier League matches are available via NBC, which signed a $1 billion, six-year deal in 2015. NBC last year introduced a “Premier Pass” streaming option for $50 per month that drew complaints from some folks.
In November, Amazon signed a deal with Premier League team Manchester City for a documentary series.