EXCLUSIVE: The future of televised sport is streaming services, says Amazon’s Mark Petchey
Televised sport will move to streaming services in the UK sooner rather than later, with tennis leading the revolution by making a move to Amazon Prime
That’s the verdict of former British Davis Cup player Mark Petchey, who will be leading Amazon Prime’s coverage of the US Open over the next couple of weeks and believes the future of televised sport in the UK will be away from satellite broadcasters.
Some tennis fans have voiced their frustration after Sky Sports walked away from tennis after last year’s ATP Finals in London and handed over the baton on UK coverage to Amazon Prime, yet Petchey suggests the network that will screen both the ATP and WTA Tour in the UK from 2020 onwards will have a leading role to play in televised sport from this point forward.
“If you don’t realise that sports broadcasting will eventually all be on streaming services, then you are living in the dark ages,” Petchey told Tennis365 in an exclusive interview.
“I look at my kids and how they consume not just sport on TV, but music and everything else and it is on streaming platforms. That’s how life is now. Kids are on their devices all day and tennis moving Amazon opens up an opportunity to take the sport to a massive audience in the UK.
“We are on-site for all the major events and that gives us a chance to give the audience the best audience possible, with the technology being made available to use is up there with anything I have worked with in the past.
“We had Andy Murray’s comeback in singles in Cincinnati and we were able to bring the viewers analysis of how much spin he was putting on the ball compared to where he was before his injury problems and that kind of information is fascinating for tennis fans.
“Tennis fans tend to be quite well educated on the sport and I see my role as being someone who can contribute to their enjoyment of the sport from a technical perspective having coached on the ATP and WTA Tour.
— Prime Video UK (@primevideouk) August 19, 2019
“I loved my time working with Sky Sports, but this is a new adventure and it is very exciting to see what Amazon can do for tennis coverage in the UK over the next few years.”
Amazon Prime will screen 20 Premier League football matches exclusively live over the umping festive season, with Petchey suggesting the new entrant into the UK sports broadcasting landscape are here to stay.
“For my money, the positive outweighs the negatives of Amazon having tennis coverage in the UK and the moment and I’m sure people will get used to the change and appreciate that streaming services are the future,” he adds. “We have embraced them for movies and TV shows and sport will be next.
“We are at the start of a journey and the formative stages of something like this will be met with residence from people who were used to the previous way of watching tennis, which tended to be on satellite TV.
“We should not forget that when Sky started in the early 1990s, people were poking fun at them and were resistant to their arrival in the market, but perseverance and hard work from some incredibly talented people helped to turn Sky into a hugely successful company.
“Now we hear people saying we wish tennis could be back on Sky, but this is a bold new step forward fo the sport with Amazon and I’m convinced it will be a success.
“Sky was very much an embryonic company when they launched, but Amazon is a massive and hugely successful company that will make sure they are successful in this move into tennis. It gives its customers incredible value for money and while Sky offer a good service, it is expensive if you subscribe to their sports channels.
“With Amazon, you can have it all for £79-a-year and that gets you so much more than just live ATP Tour tennis coverage from next year, we have the WTA Tour as well. You can’t beat that.”
Amazon Prime will screen live coverage of every day of the US Open. You can sign up for a 30-day free trial here – https://www.amazon.co.uk
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