Premier League open to rights offers from online challengers

The Premier League, the top division of English club football, would be open to offers for its next set of media rights from online operators such as Amazon and Facebook, according to chief executive Richard Scudamore.

The Premier League is set to enter into the second season of its current set of three-year rights deals with pay-television broadcasters Sky and BT Sport when the 2017-18 campaign kicks off at the weekend.

Plans are now being drawn up for the next rights cycle from 2019-20 and Scudamore told UK newspaper The Times that Sky and BT Sport would not be granted preference over any potential challenge from the likes of Amazon and Facebook.

“We envisage anybody, really, being able to come along and bid for those rights,” Scudamore said.

“We would need some distribution criteria and to make sure it was readily available across platforms and everything else, but as long as it was widely available and distributed properly, we wouldn’t rule those out.”

Amazon secured its first major sports rights deal outside its home US market by acquiring UK rights to professional men’s tennis circuit the ATP World Tour, according to a report in The Guardian last week.

The UK newspaper said Amazon had held off competition from incumbent rights partner Sky with an offer worth as much as £10m (€11.2m/$13m) per year.