Fresh from the success of streaming top-flight English football for the first time, Amazon has sets its sights on Europe’s premier club competition, securing exclusive German rights to a package of Champions League matches.
Amazon’s deal in Germany is akin to its move to break the stranglehold on Premier League rights held by Sky and BT in the UK. In Germany, Champions League rights are held by Sky Deutschland, which sub-licenses a package to sports streaming service DAZN.
Amazon has picked up the exclusive rights to 16 Champions League matches a season, giving it the top pick for Tuesday night fixtures, in the group and knockout stages for three seasons from 2021-22.
The auction for the lion’s share of the rights, including the final which is being offered to bidders separately, is ongoing this week. It is the latest sign of Amazon’s growing appetite for prime sports rights, coming a week after its successful streaming of 10 live Premier League matches across two nights. The Premier League matches provided Amazon with the two biggest days of sign-ups to its Prime subscription service since it was launched in the UK in 2007.
“We’re excited to bring Uefa Champions League football to our customers in Germany” said Alex Green, managing director of Prime Video Sport Europe. “The Uefa Champions League is one of the most prestigious club competitions in the world. We’re delighted to bring the top-pick Tuesday matches to our customers from 2021.”
Amazon has has also held the broadcasting rights for audio coverage of the Bundesliga football league since 2017.
Under the current three-year deal Sky Deutschland is the main rights holder and sub-licensed a smaller package of games to DAZN, which reportedly paid an estimated €600m (£505m). The current deal, which runs until 2020/21, marks the first time that no Champions League games have aired on free-to-air TV in Germany, after public broadcaster ZDF was outbid.
In the UK, Amazon has been building up its portfolio of sports rights, including spending tens of millions for the US Open. It also outbid Sky in a £50m deal for men’s ATP World Tour tennis and women’s WTA tournaments. It offers NFL Thursday night football games as part of a $130m (£99m) deal to non-exclusively livestream games globally outside the US. Earlier this year, Amazon broke into the French sports market by securing one of two packages to broadcast the Roland Garros clay court Grand Slam for three years from 2021.