Amazon grabs rights to 20 Premier League games in the UK
Just when it looked as though Amazon's interest in live sports was flagging, the global giant has jumped back into the frame, buying the rights to stream 20 English Premier League games a season for 2019-2022.
Indications are Amazon paid £90m ($NZ171) for the three-year deal.
And yet, in the grand scheme of the English Premier League (EPL), where rights to 200 games were up for grabs, it seems like crumbs from the table.
Sky TV UK and BT spent more than £4.4 billion to secure rights to 180 of the games, divided between them.
The final two packages of seven (auctioned overnight Thursday NZ time) saw BT pick up 20 games for £90m and Amazon pick up the final 20 for an undisclosed sum.
These are UK domestic deals only, not including international rights.
As with Indian Premier League cricket, Grand Slam tennis and the NFL in the US, there has been a continuation of the trend whereby Amazon, Google and Facebook either don't participate in auctions for A-list sports rights, or are happy, for now (now being the next three to five years with most sporting code contracts) to experiment with a token number of games.
Sky's director of sport, Richard Last is always quick to point this out. And departing chief executive John Fellet has weighed in that the newcomers' sports right spending, on a per-capita basis, puts them on par to bid for the Auckland Breakers rather than the All Blacks.
And you have to give it to Messrs Last and Fellet that, right now, Amazon is not looking like a clear and present danger to Sky TV.
Sky [NZX:SKT] still has plenty of other new competition headaches, however.
Spark could try to parlay its Rugby World Cup 2019 win into a broader play for A-list sports rights.
And Sky TV's longtime monopoly on outside broadcast infrastructure for shooting games was recently broken with the arrival of NEP.
ABOVE: Broadcast rights for English Premier League football games took off after newcomer BT (British Telecom) joined the fray. However, Sky TV has been quick to point out that bidding cooled in the latest three-season auction. It appears Sky TV UK and BT have reached the upper limit of what was economic to bid in 2016-2019.
So it's still likely that Sky will have a right on its hands to maintain rights to All Blacks and Super Rugby for post-2020 games.
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