Amazon could be preparing to bid next month for the rights to stream English Premier League football (soccer) matches, if a report by Bloomberg this morning is anything to go by.
According to a source familiar with the matter, the digital giant sees the English Premier League as a huge opportunity to draw more people to its Prime membership service in the U.K. and convert occasional customers into more loyal shoppers.
Amazon has already bought video streaming rights for live sport including tennis and the National Football League, but the Premier League remains Europe's most prized live sports broadcast asset and with a growing audience in the U.S., fits in perfectly with Amazon's broader strategy to bring more sports content to its global customers.
The e-commerce giant recently tied up a deal to produce a documentary series with Manchester City, the current Premier League leaders, which previously increased speculation that it might next pursue live soccer rights. Currently Sky and BT Sport share the rights to the EPL, following an auction in 2015 that saw the broadcasters splash £5.1 billion ($6.9 billion) between them for three seasons.
The next auction in February will see seven packages being offered by the Premier League, varying from 32 matches to 20 matches each. Amazon could bid for one of the smaller packages for broadcasting in the U.K., according to Bloomberg. Auctions for streaming rights in other markets are usually held separately. Both Amazon and the Premier League declined to comment.
Back in September, Apple revealed its own aspirations for offering more live sports through Apple TV 4K, with a new sports section on the device and in the new TV app offering integration with channels like ESPN. But despite sports generally being seen as a big selling point for any set-top-box device, Apple's offerings in the TV category remain skewed towards American audiences.
However, if Amazon chose to offer sports through its Prime Video app on Apple TV, it's theoretically possible that U.K. owners of Apple's set-top box could one day stream EPL matches to the device.