This story may sound somewhat parochial, but bear with us. Amazon has paid an undisclosed amount for the rights to stream 20 English Premier League (football) matches for each of the three seasons starting in 2019. The games will be streamed to fans as part of the Amazon Prime Video service in the UK – this isn’t a global deal – and sees Amazon sitting alongside broadcasters Sky and BT Sport for the first time.
What have sports rights got to do with music? In the UK, Amazon will now be able to use football as yet another part of its pitch to people to pay £79 a year for an Amazon Prime membership. Which, in turn, may widen the funnel of new listeners to its Prime Music streaming service, and in turn, the number who choose to upgrade to a full Music Unlimited subscription. Although we’ll stress the ‘may’ as for now, this is all about potential (and Amazon is unlikely to ever release data on music-subscription conversion rates for new Prime members who turn out to be heavy football streamers).
Still, this is one more area to mark down as Amazon’s territory more than other companies active in music-streaming. The company has also been buying up tennis rights for the UK, as well as paying $65m a year to stream Thursday-night NFL matches globally. Anything that increases the appeal of a Prime membership, particularly to the kind of mainstream audience that watches football (of either variety), could continue the quiet growth of Amazon’s music services into major players in our ecosystem.
The company’s devices are playing an important role in that too, and in separate news, there’s a new piece of Amazon hardware to think about. The Fire TV Cube will cost $120 – or $89.99 to Prime members – and will ship on 21 June initially only in the US. It’s a cube-shaped device that plugs in to a TV, combining the features of Amazon’s Fire TV Sticks with its Echo smart speakers. It’ll go head-to-head with the Apple TV products, with music, sports, TV and films alike part of its pitch to buyers.