The £ 4.5bn deal the clubs had shared since concluding from 2019 runs until 2022, when a new three-year cycle will begin, which will once again see Sky TV, BT Sport and Amazon Prime Video as the main players in the domestic match, despite DAZN’s reported interest in throwing his hat in the ring.
Clubs were concerned that the 2022-2025 rights cycle would be auctioned off, the price may well drop due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on football and the broadcasters themselves.
Remission of rights and loss of income, relations between the Premier League and broadcasters had threatened to strain following the hiatus of the 2019/20 season and the end of the campaign via Project Restart in June 2020.
But while fans still couldn’t attend the games, the 2020/21 season has ended and the relationship has returned to health, with the Premier League opting to keep all three broadcasters on the current deal, sort of. of victory given the problems that other large countries are facing with their own national rights.
It is in France that broadcasting rights have been hit the most by COVID-19, the top two divisions of French football plunged into financial chaos after Mediapro, which won the rights to cover the two leagues in a pare- shocks of £ 800million ($ 1.2 billion) failed to meet payments soon after the deal began, missing two installments, one of £ 147.5million and another of £ 130.9million in 2020 and forcing French football to sever ties with the company.
French broadcaster Canal + landed the rest of the deal but for a much lesser sum, and with clubs budgeting for their exceptional new television contract with Mediapro, particularly Ligue 1 clubs, the financial crisis caused by Covid quickly enveloped clubs and forced the league’s government agency, the LFP, to take out a government loan in order to see clubs through their darkest times.
Now, as clubs begin to try and have some hope for what the future will bring as vaccines continue to create a path to normalcy, the next three years of broadcast for French football have been. settled, and they could pave the way for big changes in the Premier League in the not too distant future.
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Amazon Prime Sport, which until now has only chosen to commit to broadcasting only certain games through its deals, like the £ 90million a year 10-game deal it has with the Premier League , has now committed to a full broadcast package after successfully bidding on € 250million (£ 214.6million) per year for the eight Ligue 1 matches each week that were part of the Mediapro package. The deal with Amazon will run for three years worth € 750million (£ 643.75million) to give French clubs a boost, giving them longer-term security after the uproar of last year.
The deal, however, prompted Canal +, France’s longtime partner broadcaster of French football, to pull out of its own deal with the LFP, a deal that allowed them to broadcast two Ligue 1 games each week. The LFP intends to force them to stick to the £ 285million-a-year deal.
Previously, Amazon had only entered into a regular weekly tennis sports broadcast package, with the Men’s ATP Tour.
Alex Green, managing director of sports in Europe for Amazon Prime Video, told French newspaper L’Equipe in January: “(Amazon) Prime is not just a sports broadcasting platform. I don’t need to show subscribers live sports every week because they also have movies, entertainment series, music, and business benefits.
“Sporting events are only one part of a large global whole and we don’t have a specific subscription service for sport, it is not our model. “
But the move to France presents a potential change in approach, which could well manifest itself in Amazon’s full game for Premier League rights the next time they are auctioned off at the end of the next 2022 cycle – 2025. And with more and more people switching to traditional broadcasters’ streaming services, and with BT considering the potential to sell their BT Sport business that they have since launching in 2013, there may well be a greater possibility for Amazon is entering the Premier League market more aggressively than at present.
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This, in turn, could help increase the Premier League’s broadcast rights from 2025, with the next three-year cycle set to maintain the same levels as the previous one after the new deal is signed with existing broadcasters.
There could also be more players in the market, with DAZN expanding its reach and AT&T, which also owns the Warner Media Group, in advanced talks to create a new company that would merge its media business with Discovery Inc in the amount of several. billion. dollar deal to create a new media company that would surpass Netflix in size and be just behind Disney. They already have interests in the sport and the creation of such a media giant could put them in a strong position to enter discussions in three years.
Keeping the status quo with national broadcast rights for the next three years, something worth almost £ 100million over the period for Liverpool and the rest of the member clubs, was seen as a victory for the Premier League given the impact of the pandemic. And they are hoping the market is bullish with willing bidders as the next round arrives in order to move the Premier League forward and maintain its position as the most watched and beloved domestic competition in world football.