Amazon planning bid for English Premier League broadcast rights

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In a challenge to Sky and BT, the internet giants are thought to have already held talks about streaming matches online.

Amazon have stayed tight-lipped about their possible ambitions for English football but sources say they have now sat down with Premier League negotiators to discuss buying United Kingdom rights.

Amazon already holds National Football League rights in the US and outbid Sky a year ago to make Amazon Prime Video the place to watch ATP World Tour tennis (including the ATP World Tour Finals that take place at London's O2) as well as rights to the US Open.

Has Amazon's intervention forced Sky and BT to work together to combat the threat to Premier League rights?

Winning EPL streaming rights won't come easy. Bloomberg did not say which seven packages were up for bid, nor which geographic regions they include. However, with Sky and BT paying a combined £5.14 billion ($6.96 billion) for 168 live matches back in 2015, Amazon will likely need to spend big to acquire what it's after.

The pair took big financial hits when they paid a record £5.14bn for domestic Premier League rights in 2015 - nearly £2bn more than they sold for in 2012.

Amazon tells investors the big investment in video pays off by enticing more people to join Prime, making them more loyal shoppers. It had been previously rumored that the streaming giant would compete with Amazon, Facebook, BT Sport, Sky Sport and the other companies interested. Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch, meanwhile, has also said he is getting tougher on price.

Amazon declined to comment, but in a statement last November said: "We will continue to look to add content that Prime members want".

That said, two entire rounds of matches are being sold this time around which will be significantly cheaper, so it could be that Amazon tests out a single, full-on Premier League weekend with simultaneous streams.