Amazon has secured a groundbreaking deal to show live Champions League soccer matches in the U.K., starting from 2024, European soccer governing body UEFA unveiled on Friday.
The deal, details of which had leaked ahead of the announcement, will see Amazon split U.K. rights to the top-rated European club tournament with current U.K. rightsholder BT Sport.
BT Sport, which is due to combine in a joint venture with Warner Bros. Discovery’s sports network Eurosport later this year, will still retain the vast majority of games across the Champions League, Europa League and the third-tier Conference League tournaments run by UEFA.
Amazon’s deal will give the online giant one game a week, around 20 matches a season, across Europe’s premier competition.
The new deal kicks off in 2024 — when the Champions League tournament is set to grow from 32 to 36 teams under a new format — through to 2027.
Prime Video has secured the rights to exclusively broadcast the Tuesday night top-pick matches from the Champions League. Each fixture will always feature an English team during the group stages and, where they have qualified, through to the semi-finals.
“The addition of UEFA Champions League football is a truly momentous moment for Prime Video in the UK,” Alex Green, MD Prime Video Sport Europe said in a statement.
The Champions League agreement is the biggest sports rights deal Amazon has made in the U.K. and will further secure its position as a major player in the live sports business. In March, the online giant struck an 11-year deal, valued at $1 billion annually, to stream live NFL football matches in the U.S. It has a three-year contract to broadcast Champions League games live in Germany, a deal that kicked off last season. Amazon also holds Champions League rights for Italy.
Amazon signed its first major U.K. sports deal in 2018, inking an agreement to broadcast 20 live matches from domestic soccer division, the Premiere League.
The Champions League deal is a further sign of the enduring value of premium live sports in the battle between broadcasters and streamers for audience loyalty. Last month, Viacom18, a joint venture between Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, Paramount Global and James Murdoch-backed Bodhi Tree Systems, paid $2.6 billion (205 billion rupees) for streaming rights to India’s Premier League Cricket, while Disney shelled out $3 billion (235.75 billion rupees) to hold onto exclusive TV rights to the sport for the next five years.
The Champions League, an annual soccer tournament between Europe’s top-placed club sides, is among the most valuable sports rights in Europe. Last year’s final, between English team Chelsea and Manchester City, drew 8.7 million viewers across BT’s main digital channel and its free-streaming YouTube channel.
British public broadcaster the BBC also secured rights to show highlights of Champions League matches on its popular Match of the Day program.
BT has been the exclusive U.K. broadcaster of the Champions League since 2015 after it beat out then joint holders Sky and ITV with a $1.46 billion (£1.2 billion) bid, a record figure at the time.