Will free-to-air football attract new subscribers?
With the Premier League returning to action from June 17th, UK audiences will now see all remaining 92 matches televised live between Sky, BT Sport, Amazon Prime and the BBC, and the 3pm Saturday blackout lifted for the first time. Ampere’s Consumer study shows that the Premier League is the most popular competition in the UK, with more than a quarter of the population showing an interest and 20% willing to pay to access live content. But could the paying audience for football in the UK grow further?
Those who are willing to pay and who actually have Sky Sports or BT Sport in the household make up 12% of the UK population. This means 44% of all those interested in the Premier League are missing out on the main bulk of live action. But from the remaining matches this season, 33 will be free-to-air across the BBC, Amazon Prime and Sky, the first time since its inception in 1992 that live Premier League games have been available this way. Ampere’s consumer data indicates that 82% of Premier League fans have watched BBC channels in the past month and nearly 50% have either Amazon Prime or Sky in the household.
The true reach and impact of free live matches–and the number of new subscribers to Sky and BT Sport–will not be known until the start of next season, but the Premier League is certainly keen to grow the next generation of fans, many of whom may not have had access to live matches. Amazon’s decision to stream its free matches via Twitch could be an antidote to this and help to increase appeal. If this new temporary strategy proves fruitful in aiding to engage those younger and hard to reach audiences, it may give the League food for thought when planning the next broadcast sales cycle.