The brave new broadcasting of Premier League football launched through Amazon Prime this week as an exciting new frontier of live football matches. But if you were expecting to be blown away with new innovations, you would have been left a little disappointed.
The presentation was safe and unfussy, with familiar pundits like Alan Shearer and Roberto Martinez on board, whilst ‘new’ host, Gabby Logan – are you seeing a theme here – provided a tidy, yet recognisable welcome.
Amazon have paid £90m to screen 20 matches a season in the middle of winter for the next three years; this is when audiences tend to be higher. Even though you are asked to pay for it, it seems Amazon are not going to offer anything that revolutionises the way Premier League football is currently covered.
In fact, there were many complaints that the images being broadcast were more than a minute behind the live action, which is very poor if people are also following the game on social media or via betting apps.
Other than that, it ticked all the boxes, but it was the same tried-and-tested formula that has been successful elsewhere. We got the chat before the game, some analysis pre- and post-match and plenty of cameras offering different angles around the ground.
The way Amazon employed many of the same faces and voices already well known to football audiences showed that they wanted to mirror other successful brands, rather than take a risk and launch a new product.
They are now the third company to enter the Premier League television market and probably not the last with Google and Apple showing a lot of interest, but the cost of having all these companies involved is becoming a problem for many armchair fans.
If you were already an Amazon Prime subscriber, happy days, although some smart TV’s still needed a Firestick to stream properly. If you were struggling with the television, you could stream the games on different devices on the same subscription, such as on a laptop or tablet.
However, the one thing you definitely needed was a strong, quick and reliable Wi-Fi connection which is not something everybody enjoys. This puts Amazon at a disadvantage and will do little to increase subscription numbers.
If people had to cancel Sky or BT to be able to afford Amazon, would they? Probably not because there are only 20 games in December, and given that it appears to be just more of the same in every way, unless you were already an Amazon Prime customer, you would probably go to the pub to watch it or do something else with your evening.
This was supposed to be a memorable night for the Premier League and how it is covered, but sadly it all looked and sounded like so many others, so we can’t see a big clamber of people rushing to subscribe.