Amazon says millions watched its first U.K. soccer matches
INTERNATIONAL - Amazon.com Inc. said it signed up new Prime service members in record numbers in the U.K. on Tuesday and Wednesday, when it aired Premier League soccer on its streaming platform for the first time.
“Both days beat any previous Prime Day, Black Friday and the day The Grand Tour launched,” Amazon said in a statement, referring to the car show hosted by Jeremy Clarkson.
It was the first time a streaming service has taken on full responsibility for airing the world’s richest soccer league in its home market. Amazon’s coverage was met with cautious approval from viewers despite some technical glitches and signal delays.
The commercial response looks encouraging for Amazon’s e-commerce business heading into the Christmas holidays, although many of the new subscribers may decide to cancel membership after a 30-day trial period.
It also suggests positive momentum for its foray into live sports as Amazon considers whether to make a more concerted challenge to the traditional pay-TV companies that have dominated the broadcasting of top-level sports in the U.K. -- Comcast Corp.’s Sky and BT Group Plc.
The first ten out of 20 games due to air on the service this month attracted “millions of football fans,” said Alex Green, managing director of Prime Video Sport Europe.
The company didn’t give precise viewing figures. Media analysts at Ampere Analysis had estimated that around 900,000 of the Prime Video subscriber base heading into this week would be interested in soccer.