The battle to land exclusive broadcasting rights for the world’s most watched football league, the English Premiership is heating up after Facebook and Amazon have confirmed their interests to enter into the bidding war.
Kwese TV another rising digital broadcaster has already started streaming some of the English Premier League matches through a deal with ESPN, but we are expecting the Econet Media powered pay TV to enter the race for exclusive airing of the English Premier League in the coming season.
DSTv through its Multichoice flagship SuperSport has been Africa’s sole exclusive broadcaster of the EPL matches, making them the only television of choice for the continent’s multitude of English Premier League fans. The Premier League’s current broadcaster in the region, SuperSport has been broadcasting the competition since the League’s inaugural season, 1992/93 with the currently renewed deal set to expire after the 2021/22 season.
In an exciting twist of events in the dynamic broadcasting terrain, Amazon and Facebook are now expected to bid for Premier League streaming rights, which will further escalate the huge financial boom for England’s top clubs, conformed the Manchester United vice-chairman, Ed Woodward.
The 2016-19 Premier League exclusive broadcasting rights were primarily sold to BSkyB and BT for £8.4bn. However, the escalating bidding wars for the world’s most watched and celebrated football league are now likely destined to net over £20bn for the English FA in the few years to come.
Securing live Premier League rights exclusively in 1992 was key to the very survival and subsequent success of BSkyB. Interestingly, the game, with its crowds of loyal supporters, remains prime content for newer media companies seeking to build businesses on subscriptions. Last month Amazon outbid Sky, paying a reported £10m a year, for the UK rights to the ATP tennis tour, its first major live sport acquisition outside the US.
Manchester United’s Ed Woodward noted Amazon now streams an NFL game on Thursdays and that Major League Soccer has a deal with Facebook to show 22 games a season and he told investors Facebook and Amazon had been interested in bidding for the IPL cricket rights.
Asked if he expects the tech giants to bid in the next round of Premier League rights sales, which is expected to open before the end of this year, Woodward said: “Absolutely, I think they will enter the mix; anecdotally, there was incredibly strong interest in the last cycle. We are hearing that around the Premier League table and we are also hearing that from a European perspective in terms of interest in the Champions League and Europa rights. I do think we are going to see an increasing engagement from these and we would welcome the interest.”