Amazon Grabs UEFA Champions League Streaming Rights in U.K.
Prime Video, which this fall will become the first streaming service with an exclusive weekly NFL game, has made another big sports rights splash. The company has announced that it secured the U.K. streaming rights to the UEFA Champions League, one of the world’s most-watched soccer competitions.
Per The Athletic, the deal is for three years and starts in 2024, and will entail Prime Video streaming 17 Tuesday night games per year, as Champions League matches are played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. BT Sport, which formerly held a monopoly on the Champions League in that country, will keep the majority of the rights in the U.K., although the BBC has won the right to air highlights.
The UEFA Champions League is a season-long soccer competition, consisting of the best club teams from throughout Europe, who qualify based on their records from the year before. The Champions League season is played concurrently with each country’s domestic leagues. In England, that is the English Premier League, whose rights are held in the U.K. by Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC Sport, and Prime Video. NBCUniversal holds Premier League rights in the U.S., with the matches airing on NBC, the USA Network, and sometimes CNBC while streaming on Peacock.
According to the report, Amazon’s Tuesday matches will always include an English club during the group stages up until the semi-finals, in the event that the English clubs remain in the competition at that stage.
“The addition of UEFA Champions League football is a truly momentous moment for Prime Video in the UK,” Alex Green, the managing director of Prime Video Sport Europe, told the media. “Since 2018, we’ve seen millions of Prime members in the UK enjoy live sport on Prime Video, and it’s that passion and energy that has led us to this exciting next step.”
Four clubs from England — Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur — qualified for the Champions League in 2022-23, although that cycle will be prior to the Amazon deal kicking in.
In the U.S., Paramount+ holds the streaming rights to the UEFA Champions League, with some matches also airing on the main CBS network.
This fall, Prime Video will become the exclusive home of the NFL’s weekly “Thursday Night Football” games. Amazon hired the legendary broadcaster Al Michaels to handle play-by-play, with ESPN veteran Kirk Herbstreit doing color commentary. Amazon is reportedly also considering an “alternative” broadcast of the Thursday games, in the tradition of ESPN’s “Manningcast,” possibly hosted by NFL punter-turned-commentator Pat McAfee.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 10,000+ movies, TV shows, and Prime Originals like “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” “Jack Ryan,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “The Boys,” and more. Subscribers can also add third-party services like Showtime, and Starz with Amazon Prime Video Channels.
Prime Video offers exclusive live access to NFL Thursday Night Football.
Prime Video is included with Amazon Prime for $12.99 per month ($119 per year), or can be purchased on its own for $8.99 per month.