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Amazon to show its extra Premier League matches free-to-air

Tech giant Amazon will show free-to-air its four extra live Premier League matches this season, it said today (Wednesday).

The company said that viewers would not need to subscribe to its Prime Video service to see the matches.

Amazon exclusively showed two matchweeks earlier in the season as part of its existing Premier League deal.

The Premier League has provisionally scheduled a resumption of the competition on June 17 after its suspension since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Each of the remaining 92 Premier League matches will be broadcast live across the league’s existing domestic rights-holders: Sky Sports (64 matches), BT Sport (20), the BBC (4) and Amazon (4).

Amazon’s decision to show its allocation of matches free-to-air takes the number of such matches to 33. In addition to Amazon and UK public service broadcaster BBC’s free-to-air matches, pay-television Sky will show 25 of its matches on its free-to-air digital terrestrial channel PickTV.

Telco BT’s matches will only be available to BT Sport customers.

The UK government had been keen for the remaining Premier League matches to be available to as wide an audience as possible given that all 92 fixtures will be played behind closed doors due to Covid-19.

In preparation for behind-closed-doors matches, the English and Scottish FAs last month lifted their bans on the televisual broadcast of Saturday 3pm football fixtures for the remainder of the season.

The Premier League has scheduled two matches for June 17: Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal. This would be followed by a full match round beginning on June 19.

It plans a staggered match schedule for the remainder of the season, with fixture slots available every day of the week.

The Premier League was under pressure to resume matches to protect rights fees from international broadcasters that would otherwise have to be reimbursed. It is thought the league was less concerned about Sky and BT seeking refunds given the existing relationships.