Craig Salmon’s Soapbox: New TV deal leaves football fans with more money to find

Manchester United defeated Huddersfield Town on Boxing Day
Manchester United defeated Huddersfield Town on Boxing Day

Online giant Amazon’s foray into streaming live Premier League matches means football fans will have to dig a little deeper into their pockets to watch their favourite sport next season

So forget Sky, forget BT Sport – if you fancy watching a bit of festive top flight football next season make sure you have an Amazon firestick ready to hand.

The world’s largest online retailer this week announced that they have won the sole rights to streamlive all 10 Premier League games on Boxing Day.

The deal is part of an agreement which will see the Internet giant broadcast 20 matches in total in the month of December.

So make sure you have an Amazon Prime membership – at a cost of £79 for the year or £7.99 per month – if you are in the mood to settle down for a bit of Christmas footy entertainment with your leftover turkey and trimmings.

Not that I have anything against Amazon competing for TV rights, but it’s just another example of how fractured the beautiful game has become when it comes to watching it on the box.

Before too long you will need about eight different subscriptions to watch the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League...et al.

Barring cup games on the BBC, the days of watching live football on terrestrial television are well and truly gone.

I am old enough to remember ITV’s ‘Big Match’ – presented by Elton Welsby – on a Sunday back in the 1980s... those were the days!

And what about FA Cup Final day when you had the choice of either the Beeb or ITV to watch the showpiece match, incidentally which kicked-off every year at 3pm.

While you can understand the powers-that-be milking as much money as they possibly can from selling broadcasting rights – is it really good for the game?

Where once I used to be an avid viewer of the Champions League or European Cup as it was in its former guise, nowadays it’s a competition I barely watch.

It is only broadcast on BT Sport and I am not prepared to have a subscription for that as well as Sky.

I am convinced I’m not the only person like this and as a result, the profile of Europe’s premier club competition has taken a hit, I am sure. The final of the Champions League is without doubt the biggest annual football match anywhere in the world and unlike the previous rounds is free-to-air – as it should be.

However, this year’s final between Liverpool and Spurs was only free-to-air via YouTube or the BT app. But when I began to stream the final on my television – using my Amazon firestick – the poor quality of picture meant the game was unviewable.

The only way I was able to watch it was via my tablet – hardly ideal when you’re sitting in a room which has a 42 inch flat screen going spare.