Tonight, Amazon Prime TV will make history when they exclusively broadcast the Premier League live on their platform. It’s the first in the UK that any online streaming service has managed to get the rights to exclusively show Premier League football – and it’s not gone down overly well.
What’s the issue with it?
The main issue that many fans have is that it is simply another cost for them to add onto their growing list of bills. In the United Kingdom, if you want to watch the Premier League every single weekend you’re now required to hold a Sky Sports subscription, a BT Sports subscription and now an Amazon Prime subscription.
To get yourself a Virgin Media TV package that will allow you to watch both BT Sports and Sky Sports, it will set you back £77 per month. After the first 12 months, that price will rise to £104 per month. Now, we need to add Amazon Prime to that list – another £7.99 per month. That means that in the first year, you will pay a total of £1019.88 to watch football from the comfort of your sofa. From the second year onward, that price will rise to £1,343.88 per year – assuming prices don’t go up, which we all know they will.
The other issue we have in the UK is broadband connections, as reported in a previous article, the UK ranks just 35th in the world when it comes to broadband connections speeds. That’s one of the reasons why online streaming services for sports have never quite taken off here in the way they have in other countries. Take Eleven Sports for example, they had the rights to La Liga in the UK last year but their model failed in this country before the season even ended – meaning ITV got the rights until the end of the year.
It’s quite embarrassing when you consider countries such as Andorra, Taiwan and Estonia have quite significantly better coverage than we do here in the United Kingdom. As far as I’m concerned, the direction we’re heading in right now is one wherein online streaming sites will regularly be snapping up the rights to the sporting events we all love – so the government will need to invest heavily in a better broadband infrastructure very soon.
Circling back, this broadband issue actually does connect back to the issue of paying a lot of money to watch football because to be able to do so without worrying about buffering, you’ll need top of the range internet. So, add an extra £30-40 to your monthly bills so that you can manage to get some sort of top fibre internet capable of sustaining the streaming and your cost of football is f*****g astronomical…
What is there to like about it?
Well, the main thing that stands out to me is that over the course of the current game-week and the Boxing Day fixtures, we will be able to take our pic of the games each day. Tonight, we have two games to pick from as Manchester City visit Burnley and Crystal Palace play host to Bournemouth.
It’s something they’ve been able to do in the United States for years with their own sports. Each of their sports has their own “game pass” wherein if you pay a monthly subscription you can watch any game you want every week – so realistically, you’d never have to miss one of your own teams games.
Whether it’d be worth the Premier League investing in something like that is a whole other matter, but it is nice to have that option to watch whatever game you’d like to watch – legally, at least.
The actual standard of the coverage is yet to be determined as we haven’t seen an actual Amazon broadcast yet. The level of punditry, presenting and commentary will all be heavily scrutinised over the course of the next few days – as they are with all outlets. Sky Sports and BT Sports have a lot of work to do in that area so if Amazon can get it right, that’s another check in the pro column.
There’s a lot of negatives to this decision to allow an online streaming service broadcast live games – but there are a few positives to go along with it. In my personal opinion, the ability to choose which game you watch doesn’t make up for adding yet more expense to an already ludicrous amount of money it takes to watch football in this country.
Obviously you should make your own decision when it comes to how you feel about this, and do feel free to let me know how you feel in the comments below.