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Premier League Streaming Service Coming, When Is Unclear

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English soccer on Android

A dedicated Premier League streaming service is coming, although when it will arrive is another question. With the English top-tier soccer league continuing to grow in prominence outside the UK, it was always a matter of when, rather than if, the Premier League would go it alone.

The Premier League relies heavily on TV licensing rights and the income generated from those deals has been growing massively. However, it is assumed the Premier League will be able to generate even more revenue by opting to provide consumers with direct access in return for a monthly fee. Up until now the league has remained tight-lipped on the development of a dedicated subscription streaming service.

Richard Masters was only recently appointed chief executive of the Premier League and in recent comments to the UK media, confirmed a streaming service is in the works. In fact, Masters confirmed the streaming approach has been in development for some time, but also suggested the actual timing of deployment is more the issue. What’s more, even when the service does launch, it is unlikely to launch everywhere at the same time. Furthermore, some regions might not get any access at all.

TV licensing remains a major hurdle for the Premier League

The Premier League faces an uphill battle in switching to a streaming approach. While such a switch will almost immediately generate greater revenue, the league has the issue of licensing to deal with. In most cases, the Premier League sells rights for years in advance and this could effectively lock certain regions out of a direct streaming service for years to come. For example, the Premier League only recently announced its latest licensing agreement which saw the rights for Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland sold to Nordic Entertainment Group. That deal gave Nordic the right to broadcast Premier League matches from 2022 up until 2028.

Another element in play is that the streaming service may not be an all-inclusive service – at least not everywhere. For example, Masters suggested the direct-to-consumer version of the Premier League may act as a complement to existing TV broadcasting – instead of an all-or replacement. In other words, the Premier League may opt to continue showing some matches via TV networks, and others through the new streaming service.

With the details still not decided on, it remains to be seen if this two-tier approach will be used universally, or just in the regions where licensing proves to be a greater or longer-lasting issue.

Source: The Guardian

John Finn

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