English soccer’s Premier League has been exploring the possibility of launching its own Netflix-style streaming service, according to the Sunday Times.
The UK newspaper reports that the over-the-top (OTT) platform was due to be tested in Singapore, where the Premier League opened an office in January. However, English soccer’s top flight backed out of the project, opting instead in November to sign a three-year extension of its rights deal with Singaporean telecommunications giant Singtel.
The launch of a standalone Premier League streaming service would come as a blow to UK rights holders such as Sky, which has long leveraged its majority coverage of English soccer’s top tier to attract subscribers.
The Premier League has been looking for new ways to boost its coffers since its income from domestic TV rights dropped at the last auction. The total price paid by Sky, BT Sport and new entry Amazon fell from UK£5.1 billion to UK£4.6 billion for the three-season period from 2019/20 to 2021/22.
That shortfall was expected to be offset by international media rights sales, and the Times recently reported that an increase in overseas rights fees was set to push the Premier League past the UK£9 billion (US$11.7 billion) threshold for its TV rights over the next three years.
Suggestions that the Premier League could now look to launch an OTT platform come after former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan told the Evening Standard that English soccer’s top flight should copy the National Football League’s (NFL) model and develop an in-house service to increase revenue.
“In my view, the Premier League has the opportunity to become a broadcaster in its own right and dwarf the revenues it currently gets,” said Jordan.
He continued: “I’ve spoken about the Premier League becoming the ‘Netflix of football’, i.e., the video on demand platform that controls its own product.
“If you had 100 million subscribers on ‘Premier League TV’ like with Netflix at UK£8 a month, you’d be bringing in UK£10 billion a year, not UK£8.7 billion every three years like the current deal does.”
Should the Premier League decide to go ahead with its own streaming service, it would likely follow in the footsteps of European soccer’s governing body Uefa, whose re-elected president Aleksander Ceferin last week confirmed that the organisation will launch its own OTT platform in the next six months.