Not many companies can sell you something that you already have. Well, that’s what Amazon has effectively done to all the English Premier League fans up and down the land. Many of you already have the full Sky and sports packages, with the promise of 140-plus live Premier League games. Not forgetting all those magical European nights on its rival service BT Sports; more monthly subscriptions, more football.
Then along came Amazon who have only gone and sold us the same service football fans already have, but with added perks. With a 30 day free trial, football for a brief spell was back on the nations TV’s (and computers and mobiles devices) for free. Well, until you forget about the trial ending and then suddenly you become a monthly member for £7.99 or annual subscriber of £79 to its Amazon Prime service. Jeff Bezos and his team are crossing off the days as we speak hoping it slips your mind.
A Debut To Remember
Like many fans out there, I was sceptical right from the first announcement that English Premier League is coming to Amazon this month – another channel I must go to for my footie fix. But then I sat down and watched Amazon’s opening game, Burnley v Manchester City, and within minutes I was impressed.
Boasting a top-class collection of TV presenters, pundits and commentators with some of our on-screen favourites such as Gabby Logan, Jim Rosenthal, Harry Redknapp, Peter Crouch, Eni Aluko and a commentary team of Jim Beglin and Peter Drury who were the trusted commentary team during ITV’s successful Champions League coverage. The Amazon headhunting team had thought long and hard about bringing in a team of football’s most respected personnel to deliver its historic coverage of England’s beautiful game and they nailed it.
What was also refreshing was the lack of ‘Amazon’ references during the round of opening games. The presenters always referred to it as “On Prime Video tonight.” Ok, they made up for telling us how amazing Amazon is during the ad breaks but it was great to enjoy a game of football without being constantly told you’re watching that particular channel.
However, if you’re like me, it also gave me a great opportunity to add not only Premier League football to my basket, but some much needed Christmas presents during half time. That’s what the Amazon marketing team dreamt of during their scenario planning for the opening week and they got extra sales.
Also, if good old Jim and Peter’s soothing tones and match analysis during a game isn’t your cup of tea, Prime Video dropped the ultimate wish of every football fan for the past 20 years. Not scrapping VAR. Even better; the ability to switch between commentary and stadium audio-only. Great if you want to spend the full 90 minutes singing along with your fellow fans, or sit in silence if you’re a Manchester United fan. Either way, a great new addition to what is an already impressive launch of Premier League football.
Scanning across the social media platforms helped cure my scepticism even more with an overall positive reaction from fans. OK, we saw the usual buffering, error messages and the occasional grumble of paying for yet another monthly fee for Premier League football but with a first week opening like this, Amazon Prime could easily become the main player in delivering Premier League football to your living room and in style.
Following on from the Amazon’s Premier League debut, they have since announced the capture of German rights to Champions League matches – another big move in the market. From the outside looking in, Amazon is acting like a top football club picking up all the best European talent.
So, what next in the UK? Let’s start with what is coming up on Amazon Prime Video. They have all the traditional Boxing Day games, live and on-demand. Yet another big coup to add to the success board. English football and Christmas are synonymous, it’s a long-standing tradition to the jam-packed football schedule and in England it never pauses for the festive period, unlike other European leagues. It would be remiss of me not to suggest that the Boxing Day takeover wasn’t deliberate for the wider Amazon business too with the day also synonymous for it’s important to retail and ecommerce in the UK.
Amazon owning the Christmas schedule is a sign of what is to come, at this stage we don’t know what their next move will be, but owning two major moments in the English Football season is only setting them up for a full broadcasting dominance of English Premier League rights in the future. The next round of TV rights are going to be the most anticipated, and if I was a betting man, I’d call all bets off for Amazon being the lead broadcaster for many years to come. Watch this space.