As matched bettors, our interest in Premier League football usually comes from completing bookmaker offers, spending most of our free time placing lay bets on Betfair or Smarkets. One aspect of football that could be changing in the next few years is how the matches are broadcast. If this raises the interest in the game even further, it could even have a positive knock on effect for our future matched betting prospects.
Amazon to step in?
There has been plenty of speculation in the last few years regarding the future of Premier League broadcasting. It has been dominated by Sky Sports and BT Sport in recent times, and they have been paying an increasing amount for the privilege of exclusively screening the matches. Now it would appear that media giants Amazon may be looking to take a step into the Premier League broadcasting game from the 2019-20 season onward.
Plenty of companies are looking into the idea of making a bid for the broadcast rights, including Facebook, Google and Twitter. Of course, if one of these companies were to be successful with a bid, it would completely change how Premier League football matches are broadcast, making it accessible to pretty much everyone in one way or another. The most likely company to break the Sky and BT dominance though is Amazon, who have already made moves into sports broadcasting with their purchase of ATP tennis tournaments.
Who are Amazon?
- Tech company based in Seattle, USA
- Founded by Jeff Bezos in July 1994
- In the online shopping industry, but now moving into video streaming too
- The largest internet based retailer in the world
- Voted as the third most innovative company by Forbes
- They employ over 340,000 people worldwide
The current broadcasters can breathe easy for now, as the next auction is not expected to take place until 2018, but there are many rumours suggesting that Amazon may be making a move at that point. Knowing Amazon, they will want a big slice of the pie, too. This is not the first we have heard of Amazon’s interest in Premier League football, as themselves and Netflix have made approaches with big Premier League clubs to produce behind the scenes documentaries. There are plenty of fans that would be on board with this idea, giving Amazon the backing of many supporters.
Above all else, the main thing that Amazon would be able to offer in bucket loads is money. Their financial power has the potential to blow any other bidders out of the water, which is a scary prospect for the current incumbents Sky Sports and BT Sport. The interest from Amazon could actually lead to yet another increase in prices, as a bidding war would ensue. If that was to occur, it would likely be very bad news for Sky and BT, as the bidding power of Amazon would be too much for them. If they both lose the rights, the future of Premier League broadcasting would be up in the air.
Amazon have been running an extremely successful video streaming service, Amazon Prime, for quite a while now and if they were to acquire football rights they may decide to create a specialised streaming service for that too. It would be a massive change to what we are all used to, but it is just be the way TV is heading at the moment, so why would sports broadcasting be any different?
It is becoming increasingly difficult for Sky in particular to keep up as it is. The company announced that their operating profits were down by 6% in the first half of 2017 which was massively influenced by the huge increase that they were having to pay for Premier League football rights. Their bill went up by 83%, meaning that they are now paying £11million per match, which may not be sustainable in the long run. If this was to increase further, it could rule them out for the future. Thus, when Sky’s current deal expires they may feel like going back in with another bid is not in their best interests.
Potential effect on matched betting
The fight for Premier League broadcasting rights could actually have an effect on the gambling industry too. As matched bettors, we can hope that the increased interest that could come from a potential change to a football streaming service would mean that bookmakers were more likely to list special offers surrounding popular Premier League matches.
After all, bookmakers want to appeal to the widest audience possible and that may mean more special Premier League offers. At the moment, when the weekend comes around there are usually plenty of Premier League specific offers. For example, this weekend alone has had Ladbrokes and Coral listing offers that can be turned into profits of around £6 and £5.50 respectively.
The Ladbrokes offer gave users the chance to earn two £5 free bets when they placed a pre-match bet of £10 or more on the match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United. A really easy offer to complete, and it can add excellent value to our matched betting betting exploits. The Coral offer was a £10 free bet on loss promotion, meaning that you needed to place a £10 bet on any in-play market in either Spurs v West Ham or Leicester v Liverpool and Coral would give you your stake back as a free bet if it lost.
These offers will have been specifically chosen due to being relevant for Premier League games. The more interest there is in an event, the more likely a bookmaker is to list a special offer, in an attempt to persuade punters to bet with them. It remains to be seen exactly where the broadcast rights will end up for the Premier League in the next few years but whatever happens, the number of matched betting friendly offers is very unlikely to decrease which is excellent news for us.