Amazon Prime: The verdicts are now in…

Thank you very much for your mails. This afternoon’s mailbox will focus on the actual football. If you want to be a part of it, mail


Thumbs up for Amazon
I live in rurally in northern Scotland and Amazon Prime has become a part of every day life. Water filters for the borehole? Machinery parts? Decent peanut butter? All covered. Now I’m obviously aware of the ethical implications of using Bezo’s bargain superstore and whenever possible I shop local. But Prime membership is something I would pay for anyway (we often get stung for ridiculous shipping costs so it pays for itself in a month or two) and as it means me and the people around here don’t have to spend half a day driving into town (in 4x4s) so there are probably significant environmental benefits of having the one van servicing the large geographic area every few days too.

Anyway, I don’t agree completely with Johnny Nic’s assertions regarding the situation; I’m one of the ones who will be “in a way, will be getting these games for free” and this together with Scottish Government’s commitment to ‘100% superfast broadband for all’ (meaning our download speed has increased from 0.2mbs to 140mbs over the last year) and I’m absolutely delighted with the situation. To be honest, I hope they increase their portfolio in the future.

It’s not, as Johnny says, “more of the same”. I am not paying a subscription for football I’m paying for a service I would use anyway that happens to have a football element and that is the difference between this and BT and Sky. However, I have no doubt that this will become a bolt on cost in the future and at that point I will probably bail out. But I’m going to enjoy the next month of free (to me) football.
Bill (Aberdeenshire)


…Thought I’d follow up with a review of the first Amazon Prime Video streaming evening. The user interface (via smart TV) was a doddle to navigate. Both matches up on the home screen and switching between them was easy.

I experienced no buffering, the picture and audio quality were very good. In terms of punditry and commentators it was very much the usual suspects you’ve seen and heard before. The studio appeared cramped (although whether this was due to it being at Turf Moor I don’t know).

The whole thing came over as understated, confident and much less in your face than other broadcasters. There were adverts at half time but these were largely for products tied into the service provider in one way or another. Perhaps this a financial angle that hasn’t been examined before – using the break to primarily flog yourself. In a manner of speaking. I wonder what advertising slots for say a Merseyside Derby or Spurs vs ManU normally go for?

Anyway, it wasn’t a car crash and I think tonight’s Premier League ‘goal show’ (reminiscent of BTs European goals show where all goals scored are shown and discussed as they go in) has potential to be very special and will probably give a taste of the way future broadcasting will pan out.
Bill, Aberdeenshire


Cheers for the free football
Regardless of what you think about the £90m deal, sign up for a free 30-day trial and watch football this week and on 26-27th, then cancel. Thanks for the early Xmas present, Jeff (Bezos).
Richard Magson


…I emailed in a while ago (August I think) to say that the impact of VAR has caused me to cancel my Sky Sports subscription. Update: Turns out I’d have had to pay nearly £500 to buy out the contract so I’ve kept it. Once my contract is up I will not be renewing though, so take that VAR.

Anyway, having read Jonny Nic’s article about Amazon and their current deal to show 20 PL games a season, I couldn’t help but digest everything Jonny had said and end up shrugging my shoulders. I did not have Amazon Prime as of this morning, but I have simply set up an account. I then get a free 31-day trial, and once that’s over I can close it, not use it again, see the matches available this week and on Boxing Day, and my wallet will be no lighter. I am probably missing the point to Jonny’s article but I don’t see any clear problem here. If you already pay for Amazon Prime then you’re not contributing directly to their football package anyway (and you get to watch the matches for free), or you can sign up and still watch the matches for free.

Maybe it’s blissful ignorance on my part but I don’t see Amazon as a serious contender for securing the major rights/packages in the near future. It’ll be a two-horse race between Sky and BT, both of which are destined to lose customers as people’s contracts with them up and down the country come to an end.

Simon Jordan was on TalkSport recently saying the PL should set up their televised games in the form of a ‘football netflix’. I won’t go into all the details but please have a listen to that and tell me the man isn’t making any sense. A great idea, but it won’t come to fruition unfortunately.

Anyway, Amazon’s antics regarding this topic are fine, is basically what I’m saying.
Rick (Lincoln)


But it didn’t work…
Don’t know about the rest of you but the Amazon coverage has crashed so many times for me that I am switching to an illegal stream for the second half.

Currently watching a circle spin around on a blue screen.
Minty, LFC


…Well this Amazon Prime experiment is utter shite isn’t it. Started watching the Palace match and you can’t pause or rewind so I’ve missed the red card as I had to run upstairs to sort my whinging child out.

Then at 8.15 I think I’ll watch the City match and I’m currently on my sixth attempt to load it up and all I get is no picture and a couple minutes commentary before it all goes blank.

At this rate I’d rather pay the over the top subscriptions for Sky and BT and I never thought I’d say that
Simon, Southampton


Is Amazon the future?
Two articles by John Nich in one week that I agree with? You are really spoiling us ambassador.

It got me thinking, could we realistically ever get the matches of our choice? As in every game you wanted to watch and nothing else? There is an answer, European satellite TV.

In Europe, they get all the games, all the time, regardless of broadcaster. If you’re not someone who goes to the game every week then you will genuinely be able to watch more of your team if you move to a different country. You still have to pay a premium for the sports channels but with that you get everything.

Here? Cricket: Sky, Rugby: International: Sky, Rugby Premiership:BT, F1: Sky, Football:Premiership Sky&BT, Championship Sky, Europe: BT

Having watched the games on Amazon last night I have a few observations. UHD for live broadcasts is sh*t. If you like switching your TV mode all the time then that’s great, but not me and then as John said, all the rest of the format is entirely the same as the shit we currently get.

However, this evening’s offering is actually what we really want. All games on, you can watch what you want and essentially all for free if you currently have amazon. Then you can also watch the all games show (Like they have in Germany) if you just want to watch it like they do the Championship on weekday nights.

So there is hope, either buy a European satellite system or wait for Amazon to outbid those pathetic over-charging Sky bastards.
Fat Man


Putting John Nich in his place about finance
​John Nicholson’s latest ramble on the EPL doesn’t make sense.

– He says that Premier League isn’t big business (which I agree) then goes on to say that players wages and transfer spending are obscene. So which is it, is it big business or not?

– He says that market pressures doesn’t apply to the EPL, cos the broadcasters don’t have to make money. We are talking about the same company formerly own by the Murdochs right? You think those guys will give a cent more if they don’t have to……for 27 years? I’m not saying they never overpay for things (read: MySpace), but the assertion that the EPL doesn’t make money for them at all is ludicrous unless you cite some evidence. If they’re not directly making money for them, then its a loss leader for another part of the company. This is a common business tactic.

Also John has been asserting (and hoping) for years that broadcasting money will fall to the ground. If this happens it will be because if market pressures will force companies to do it cos nobody wants to pay for it or subsidize others anymore (a likely reality considering costcutting movements).

Yet he says here that market pressures doesn’t apply, so has he given up on that notion that money income will fall? You can’t believe in both, either market pressure will correct after 27+ years or the market forces doesn’t apply at all.

– John counts viewerships in total view numbers, which is alright but comparing it to the total population numbers is a stretch. What he should be doing is comparing it to other TV viewership numbers especially pay TV.

Also, the worth of a TV contract is not just based on total viewership but also willingness to pay for those viewers. If lets say the people watching are low but are willing to pay a lot to get it then that makes the rights worth a lot. Popularity isn’t just about total appeal but also the relative inelasticity of demand for the product as prices go up.

– I get it, John hates football TV and will stop at nothing to take shots at it. But the way he phrases things its as if those of us who watch it on TV is some of brainwashed who don’t know any better cos of msrketing. You know what John, I’m not from England but TV is how I get to experience the EPL. Me and my generation across many nations and ethnicities grew up on it and we love it to death even if, apparently, we are a minority of people.

My friend has been a Liverpool fan decades they have not won a title since he was born. One time some years back, he got a super rare and exoensive chance to see them at England, to be with the Kop in Anfield and it was one of the best experiences of his life. He may not be there to watch them week in week out live but he is as dedicated as most of them in spirit. This year Liverpool will win the title and while I absolutely LOATH that as a Man United fan, I am happy for him.

Go tell him he doesn’t matter. Go tell him its only because of marketing.
Yaru, Malaysia


Are times changing?
I read John Nic’s piece and thought it was rather good and thought-provoking in places. One line stood out: ‘You can have 10 pieces brilliantly written on a rainbow of football topics, but if you’re only interested in your club, you don’t care.’

Do John or any readers smarter than me see sports betting and fantasy sports as having changed this? I think the NFL in America has been surprised at the number of people subscribing to the NFL Sunday Ticket because they aren’t interested in just one team, they are interested in their team, which is made up of players from every team. The consumer John describes is working class with little disposable income, but the NFL seems to be finding a lot of new consumers interested in the sport in a very different way than caring about which team wins, which in turn seems quite bad for sport, but rather good for business. My bias is probably preferring sport over business much like John seems to be, but surely sports betting and fantasy teams have had or will have a role to play in the growth of premier products that can’t guarantee premier interest or premier ratings?

In my humble opinion, the fact that nearly every article on this website and others is about Manchester United or Liverpool or Arsenal or Chelsea suggests that the era of the working class fan of one club is over and the era of the glory-hunting plastic fan (“Barca is my Spanish team because they’re the best, but I like Dortmund and Lazio to get in on the hipster element as well”…ugh I just got sick in my mouth) is well underway. Unlike John, I think the answer is that both can co-exist.

The Premier League and eventual European Super League will be there for the latter while the Championship and lower leagues will keep alive the soul of the game. Something for everybody and so what if one doesn’t make any money. The people losing the money don’t seem to care so why should we? I suppose John’s income might suffer if he just wrote about Luton at Millwall. So until he stops covering the Premier League, let’s just admit we’re all part of the problem and move on to the more important things John recommends.
Niall (plastic, but passionate), Denver