About 2 weeks ago, the English Premier League entered a new era. 10 fixtures were aired on Amazon Prime for the first time. The feat is set to be repeated again as Boxing Day fixtures will return to the platform. The overall reaction from the audience is not too bad. With the service costing only £7.99 a month (£3.99 for students), is live streaming the future of football?
The only major problem Amazon Prime might have to encounter over its rivals is the fact that the feed comes in approximately 30 to 45 seconds late. So there is a possibility that we might read the updates on twitter about a goal before actually being able to watch the goal. This might in turn kill the entertainment, but VAR is already doing that in my opinion.
A major problem faced by football viewers in the UK is the black-out of live games involving the afternoon kick-offs. This has led to many viewers in UK potentially streaming those games using illegal streams or relying on their club’s radio platforms to get live updates. The black-out rule was legalised because officials thought televised games on Saturday afternoon would have negative effect on matchday attendances. However, that was in 1960s and the world has evolved a lot since that.
Ever since the foundation of the Premiership, television rights value have risen astronomically. The overall value currently sits at £5.1 bn and is expected to rise in the future. While all games are on live TV overseas, is it fair that fans in the country are deprived of watching the games? It will be interesting to see what happens when the next set of TV rights are auctioned.
Will the EPL be able to persuade the authorities to allow some of the 3 PM games to be on live air? And if that happens, will they stick to Sky and BT? An advantage of Amazon Prime is the fact that it is £20 cheaper than Sky or BT per month. Only time will tell if Amazon Prime will bid for more EPL rights in 2022. However, for the time being it looks like streaming is the future of football.