Record Prime sign-ups in the UK as Amazon makes Premier League debut
Amazon, the online retail giant, has declared itself “delighted” with the feedback on its first week of live coverage of matches from English soccer’s Premier League.
Amazon Prime Video streamed 10 fixtures exclusively live in the UK between Tuesday and Thursday, with the most high-profile matches being the Merseyside derby between league leaders Liverpool and Everton and the clash between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, both on Wednesday.
This is the first year of Amazon’s three-year deal, valued at up to £90 million ($118 million), to show 20 Premier League matches per season, with the games split into two blocks of 10, and some simultaneous kick-offs.
Amazon said Tuesday was a record day for Prime sign-ups in the UK, a figure that was broken a day later. The service, which allows access to premium content and quick delivery of products, costs £79 per year or £7.99 per month.
Despite concerns heading into this week, there were no reports of major technical glitches with the live streaming, and Amazon claims the new options open to viewers were well received.
Alex Green, the managing director of Prime Video Sport Europe, said: “We're delighted that millions of football fans enjoyed watching Amazon's first ever round of Premier League matches on Prime Video. We are excited to be the first ever broadcaster to bring fans all 10 games live in a fixture round.
"We are thrilled and humbled by the positive response from Prime members not only to the production and streaming experience, but also the innovations we have introduced, such as integrated live match stats and highlights through X-Ray plus the ability to experience commentary-free stadium atmosphere."
Fans were able to watch more than one game at a time via computers, tablets, mobile devices, games consoles, smart TVs and the Virgin Media and BT TV television platforms.
However, it remains to be seen how many long-term subscribers Amazon will have attracted given that many customers will only have committed for the 30-day free trial.
The next round of games on Amazon will be the nine played on 26 December and the match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and defending league champions Manchester City on 27 December.
In recent seasons, pay-television operators Sky and BT Sport have had a monopoly on live rights to the Premier League in the UK, and Amazon’s entrance is seen as a potential model for future coverage of the competition given the slowdown in rights revenue inflation and ‘cord-cutting’ as viewers move away from often-costly long-term subscriptions to shorter-tem OTT solutions.
Under its deal, BT Sport has exclusive live rights to two full rounds of fixtures in January.