The timing is not bad for Amazon. The prospect of Argentine footballer Lionel Messi arriving at Paris-Saint-Germain could only be good news in the short term for the company, which, to everyone’s surprise, has acquired 80% of the broadcast rights to the Ligue 1, by paying a small amount (250 million euros per year). Even if the impact of the possible recruitment of the planetary star is difficult to quantify.
“With Messi in Paris, the one who made the biggest blow of this transfer window is Amazon, with rights paid in restaurant tickets”, laughs a surfer on Twitter. “Nobody talks about the incredible luck of Amazon” with the possible transfer of the former Barça playmaker, astonished another.
The possible arrival of “Leo” Messi in Paris comes, in any case, when the American e-commerce giant, which was expected at the turn, began to show on its platform Ligue 1 matches, this weekend of August 7.
In a tradition of opacity on its subscription or audience figures, Amazon does not give any indication of the number of spectators who have connected to its channel Le Pass Ligue 1, accessible from its audiovisual platform Prime Video . But the newcomer to the distribution of football in France can at least boast of not having experienced any bugs, like those encountered by RMC Sport at its inception, in 2018.
On Twitter, the few Internet users’ feedback is rather positive about the broadcasts. “Superb image quality, perfect broadcast quality, top comments”, enumerates Internet user. Amazon notably recruited ex-players like Thierry Henry, Ludovic Giuly or Edouard Cissé and launched a Sunday multiplex presented by Karim Bennani, former of Canal +.
“Amazon Ligue 1 is a big yes! Top images, ten seconds of advertising, Stadium FX… ”, greets another spectator, appreciating the possibility of cutting the comments to keep only the sound of the stadium. “We are finally entering another era. No more basic linear chains. There, it does not speak Chinese. There’s a match, you click, there’s an ad and that’s it ”, enthuses another. “I am weak, I gave in to Amazon, while I called for a boycott. Hit me “, quips a football fan, before qualifying: “I took a seven day trial until the second day. We’ll see after. ”
Amazon offers until August 29 to try for seven days The Pass Ligue 1, its channel at 12.99 euros per month. It is also possible to test its Prime loyalty service free of charge for thirty days (49 euros per year or 5.99 euros per year), essential to access Ligue 1.
The key issue of accessibility
The offer built by Amazon for the championship, reserved for Prime members, but at an additional cost, will it be a success? It is still too early to tell. “So, to watch L1, I have to subscribe to Amazon and, in addition, subscribe to the Ligue 1 Pass? Piracy still has a bright future ahead of it… ”, tweets an internet user.
“No Ligue 1 this year. Do not make fun of it. Amazon + BeIN Sports + RMC Sport + Canal +? “, another is indignant, in front of the multiplication of diffusers. Others point out that Prime also offers a range of services, including fast delivery of e-commerce items, access to series, films, music, etc.
The issue of accessibility will be paramount, some Internet users regret that Prime Video is not available on all the TV boxes of telecom operators, which means that you have to watch the matches on your computer or tablet, rather than on your TV, if it is not connected. Amazon announced several agreements with Bouygues, SFR or Free (founded by Xavier Niel, individual shareholder of the World), one box of which already includes the Prime Video subscription.
In the longer term, will Amazon be a lasting broadcaster of French football? The sector is inclined to be cautious, after the difficulties of BeIN Sports, financed by the Qatari state, of RMC Sport, designed as a call product for the telecoms operator SFR or of Mediapro, too ambitious for its means.
Amazon’s model depends on the sports broadcast increase in the number of Prime subscribers, who buy more e-commerce items. In this game, the arrival of Messi can weigh. It also risks, however, increasing the cost of retransmission rights when the call for tenders is renewed. It is often at this point that one can assess the solidity of a diffuser model.