Premier League on Amazon Prime: Is live streaming the future of watching football?

Amazon Prime will be showing Premier League coverage in December
Amazon Prime will be showing Premier League coverage in December

The media consumption landscape has changed drastically in the modern era - and December could further revolutionise the way we watch football in the future.

  • Scroll down for fixtures and details of how to watch

This week signals the first of two rounds of Premier League fixtures being live streamed on Amazon Prime. All games will be available to watch at the touch of a button - real choice for the fan free of the constraints of the television schedule.

All ten fixtures included in the round will be available to watch, that's alongside the 'Every Game - Every Goal' show which promises to 'bring you every goal from every game as they happen.'

It's a fascinating concept and one that should be welcomed by most football fans. The UK has fallen far behind the United States in terms of how we view our sports; the ability to follow your team from anywhere is a lot tougher on this side of the Atlantic.

In the States, NHL TV allows the hockey fan to watch every game taking place on one day, subject to local blackout restrictions, via a paid subscription service that presents a dashboard of choice when a user logs in beyond the paywall.

The NFL Network provides a similar experience, and the same can be said for MLB. Yet for the Premier League, the channels dictate which games can be watched.

While the coverage on the whole is good, albeit expensive, it's still not the freedom of choice presented to fans of American sports that continue to grow in popularity over here.

NHL TV allows fans to choose which game to watch and whether they get home or away commentary (via NHL.tv)
NHL TV allows fans to choose which game to watch and whether they get home or away commentary (via NHL.tv)

In fact, the NFL estimated its fan base in the UK to be around 13 million in late 2018. Los Angeles Times quotes Mark Waller, the NFL's executive vice president of international, as saying that four million are "avid, dedicated fans who watch regularly, have a favourite team and a passion for the sport."

That's near 20% of the population holding an interest in the sport, while 6% are said to be "avid fans".

If our attitudes towards American sport are changing for the better, why isn't our media?

The move by Amazon to pay £90m for Premier League rights over the next three years, splashing out near £1.5m per game, should be viewed as a positive one. The way in which we intake sports media continues to evolve across platforms but television has seemingly fallen behind.

There are, of course, potential problems that come with online streaming. Will Amazon be able to cope with such a demand for its live streaming service, for instance?

The US Open tennis in 2018 ended up with less than two stars out of five from 1,616 reviews. Such was the extent of the complaints that the company suspended the ability for customers to comment further.

"Overall, I get the impression that this is a rushed and half-hearted effort at providing sports coverage," said one reviewer. "Amazon I now despise you and all your services," proclaimed another.

Amazon Prime provided coverage of the 2018 US Open
Amazon Prime provided coverage of the 2018 US Open

In total, 71% of those who provided feedback left a one-star review, with just 10% giving it top marks.

The ability to stream high-quality online content is potentially an issue that holds the coverage back. It's still a relatively new concept for major sports in this country, despite being an established method to watch matches in the USA.

The US Open will have been a major learning curve though. A company with the status of Amazon will be aware of the problems they faced and what needs to happen to rectify them.

The majority of reviews largely pointed to a lack of replays, an inadequate catch-up area or the inability to watch the top matches. These problems are likely to be a thing of the past by the time their Premier League coverage begins.

Burnley v Manchester City will see broadcast begin at 7pm, the game kicking-off at 8.15pm and replays being made available from midnight. And of course, if Burnley v Manchester City isn't for you, there's always Crystal Palace v Bournemouth. Every game can be found on a fairly easy navigation menu; no complaints about the lack of top teams being available to see.

The next three-and-a-half weeks will be seemingly make-or-break for online streaming of football in the future; those at the top of the hierarchy will understand the responsibility they hold.

Even if there is the odd technical hiccup, and there is undoubtedly going to be something given the size and inexperience of this operation, there will be a desperation from all parties for this period to finish with far more positive reviews than negative.

Whatever happens, this week is likely to signal a historic moment in not just the future of the Premier League, but the media landscape as a whole.


Podcast verdict


Fixtures on Amazon Prime (December 3-5)

Tuesday

  • Crystal Palace v Bournemouth
  • Burnley v Manchester City

Wednesday

  • Chelsea v Aston Villa
  • Leicester v Watford
  • Manchester United v Tottenham
  • Southampton v Norwich
  • Wolves v West Ham
  • Liverpool v Everton

Thursday

  • Sheffield United v Newcastle
  • Arsenal v Brighton

Fixtures on Amazon Prime (December 26-27)

Thursday December 26

  • Tottenham v Brighton
  • Bournemouth v Arsenal
  • Aston Villa v Norwich
  • Chelsea v Southampton
  • Crystal Palace v West Ham
  • Everton v Burnley
  • Sheffield United v Watford
  • Manchester United v Newcastle
  • Leicester v Liverpool

Friday December 27

  • Wolves vs Manchester City

How to watch

The Premier League fixtures are more than visible on the Amazon Prime home page. Coverage is only available to those with Prime membership though. If you already have this, simply login to your Amazon account.

What if I don't have Amazon Prime?

Non-members do have the ability to start a 30-day free trial period of Amazon Prime, which will cover the two round of fixtures shown on the network (this week and the Christmas period).

This can be cancelled at any time. Prime then costs £7.99 per month or £79 if you prefer to pay for the year.


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