Richard Masters, the new CEO of the Premier League recently announced the leagues ongoing plans to develop a digital streaming platform similar to Netflix, with the intention of selling league games directly to viewers.
The streaming platform which will bypass traditional broadcasters for league games, is expected to enter trials as soon as 2022, in selected overseas test markets. If the Premier League’s initiative is successful, the global football viewing experience as most know it may be changed forever.
According to Masters, this idea came to the forefront during the rights bidding process for the 2019-2022 seasons, where the league spent a big chunk of its resources studying the possibility of a direct-to-consumer approach to broadcasting.
While the league ultimately chose to hold off from testing the idea in a few markets, Masters stated that it is a certainty that they will take the next opportune moment to reorient their media rights sales to accommodate both traditional media and direct-to-consumer.
One potential reason for the Premier League’s decision is its discomfort at their over reliance on revenue derived from traditional broadcasting media rights. Pivoting toward a direct-to-consumer approach while not totally abandoning its traditional media sales should allow the league enough financial freedom to carry out their plans.
Digital Platform Benefits League And Fans
Some industry observers expect that the Premier League’s earnings from its digital streaming platform will easily surpass any deal available with traditional media sources, while offering fans a more efficient, cheaper and accessible product that would promote the league’s games in the farthest corners of the world.
Optimistic estimates indicate that just a £9 monthly subscription could bring in close to £11 billion a year to the Premier League, as opposed to the vastly lower sums offered by traditional broadcast partners, who generally pay once every three years. Observers noted that many potential viewers are put off by the steep prices of subscriptions to channels that broadcast Premier League games. If the league is able to offer their own platform, they expect that fans will line up to subscribe or purchase videos on demand.
Currently, UK viewers are limited to just one option if they wish to watch all Premier League games in a season legally: they must subscribe to all three of Amazon Prime, Sky and BT Sport, costing a total of £912 a year, or £76 a month.