The executive chairman of the English Premier League has opened the door for the likes of Amazon, Facebook and Twitter to pick up the broadcast rights to the league from BT and Sky.
Between them, BT and Sky paid £5.14bn for three seasons of rights in 2015, and with the rights due to come to an end at the close of the 2018/2019 season, the Premier League is expected to start taking offers for 2019 onwards later this year.
“We envisage anybody, really, being able to come along and bid for those rights,” Richard Scudamore told The Times. “We would need some distribution criteria and to make sure it was readily available across platforms and everything else, but as long as it was widely available and distributed properly, we wouldn’t rule those out.”
The news will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of traditional sports broadcasters that were already hit just days ago when Amazon won the rights to ATP World Tour tennis for the next five years from Sky.
If one of the online giants do pick up the rights to the Premier League, it’s likely it will be at the expense of either Sky or BT, rather than both of them. With an ambition to show at least half of the 380 Premier League games in the future, it is logical that the Premier League will maintain having at least two broadcast partners – and you can expect at least one to still be TV-based.