Amazon Product Managers Look For Another Way To Score

Will soccer be the ticket to getting Amazon access to Europe?
Will soccer be the ticket to getting Amazon access to Europe?
Image Credit: Nathan Rupert

The Amazon product managers have a real problem on their hands. They are in charge of one of the more popular brands in the world and the creation of their Amazon Prime service has only made the company even more popular. However, as we are all aware of, what you did for me yesterday is nice, but what I’m really interested in is what you will be doing for me tomorrow. The Amazon product managers are under a lot of pressure to continue to update their product development definition and keep growing the brand. One part of the world where Amazon would like to become bigger is Britain. What the product managers need is a way to hook more customers.

Say Hello To Soccer

In the U.S. if you wanted to get more people to use your service, then you could strike a deal with the NFL to be permitted to broadcast football games. It turns out that in Britain the same rules apply. What the Amazon product managers have gone and done is to buy the rights to broadcast a collection of soccer games from none other than the most popular sports league in the world: the English Premier League. Now that’s something to add to your product manager resume. Before everyone with an Amazon Prime membership starts to get too excited, you need to understand that there are some limitations to what has been agreed to. The broadcasting rights will be limited to only Britain. Amazon Prime members will be able to see a selection of 20 games per season.

What is important here is that this agreement represents a big boost to Amazon’s brand new effort to provide access to live sporting events. So what’s going on here? Amazon has been very successful in entering a number of other businesses including groceries and healthcare. If they can leverage this soccer contract they may be able to start to reduce the power that traditional broadcasters hold based on their domination of sports broadcasting. There are limits to Amazon is going to be able to provide in their sports package. There will not be any of the Premier League’s marquee offerings. It will also only include two rounds of play during the season. One of the matches that will be covered will be in the middle of the week. The next will be on the December 26 Boxing Day holiday. What works in Amazon’s favor is that the Premier League is the only major league in Europe who schedules games to be played on that day.

This is not going to be Amazon’s first entry into the sports broadcasting arena. In the past, Amazon has experimented with the broadcasting of major sports leagues. Previously Amazon broadcasted 10 NFL games on Thursday night. These are the NFL’s least popular games. In order to obtain the rights to broadcast these games, Amazon paid the NFL US$50 million. The broadcasting was so well received that the Amazon product managers went ahead and renewed their contract with the NFL for the next two years. Amazon’s agreement with the Premier League covers 3 seasons. The plan is for Amazon to stream the games onto it’s Prime Video network. The cost of the Amazon Prime service is $106 per year.

How Will This Help Amazon?

So why didn’t the Amazon product managers get all of the Premier League games? It turns out that the most popular soccer games that are contained in the biggest packages of match days which were snapped up by the British TV broadcasters Sky and BT Group. Sky has been broadcasting Premier League games since Sky was founded back in 1992. They purchased the rights to 128 games in a single season for 1.2B pounds per year. Starting to do business with Amazon may cause some problems for the Premier League in the future. The deal that they have struck with Amazon represents a turning point for them. It also represents a possible problem with saturating the market.

In a season of soccer, there are 380 games in total that are played. Sky and BT together will be broadcasting 180 of these games. The Premier League still wants people to show up and view their games at the stadium. In order to ensure that this happens, the U.K. still insists that games that start at 3pm on a Saturday are blacked out from being broadcasted. The cost of bidding on the rights of broadcasting soccer games has been increasing at a rapid rate over the past two decades. This has resulted in a number of questions about just exactly how high the prices could go. The first deal for broadcasting soccer matches from 1992 to 1997 was worth 191M pounds. The current three year rights deal came in at 5.1B pounds.

One of the big issues that the Amazon product managers are going to be facing as they move forward will be the cost to carry soccer matches on the U.K. prime channel. The good news for the Amazon product managers is that it is starting to look like the price to carry live soccer matches in Britain may have peaked. Note this this may only be limited to the domestic rights for the games – international rights could be a whole other story. The last time that the rights to broadcast the next season of soccer in Britain went on the market, the bids that came in did not exceed the 5B pound mark. In fact, two of the packages that were being offered ended up going unsold. This what what provided a window of opportunity for the Amazon product managers. They swooped in and purchased one of the unsold packages in order to start their broadcasting of Premier League soccer.

What All Of This Means For You

Everyone knows who Amazon is – they are that big online company that sells books, right? Well, the product managers at Amazon are, of course, under a great deal of pressure to continue to find ways to keep the company growing. In order to make this happen in the past they have expanded into new markets such as groceries and healthcare. Now they are looking at their product manager job description and they are ready to try something different: streaming live sporting events. In Europe.

The Amazon product managers have purchased the rights to stream 20 games that will be played by the English Premier League to Amazon Prime customers who live in Britain. This move represents an attempt by Amazon to go up against the broadcasters who have a hold based on their domination of sports broadcasting. There will be limits on which games Amazon can broadcast and when they will be played. Amazon already has some experience in the world of live sports broadcasting. They have an ongoing deal with the NFL to broadcast some U.S. games. Now that they are starting to broadcast soccer games in Britain this means that Amazon is going to be competing with British TV broadcasters Sky and BT Group. There are a lot of soccer games played each season. Some games cannot be broadcasted because the league still wants people to come to the stadiums and watch the games live. The cost of purchasing broadcasting rights has been increasing over time. Amazon was able to get started by purchasing a package of games that nobody else had wanted.

Amazon is making a bold move in starting to offer streaming of Premier League soccer matches in Britain. Considering how much the British love soccer, this may be a very wise move. Since the only way to view the matches is to be an Amazon Prime member, offering the soccer matches could help Amazon to boost Prime membership in the U.K. Only time will tell if soccer could be the key to Amazon product managers success in Britain.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: Next season do you think that the Amazon product managers should try to get more soccer games to broadcast?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

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