Amazon Prime Video has assembled an impressive team of pundits and and a series of documentary films, featuring Patrice Evra, Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney, Nicola Adams and Sam Warburton to take on Sky Sports, BT Sport and the BBC this winter.
The streaming platform wheeled out the big names at a glitzy launch of its autumn/winter programme and threw down the gauntlet to its competitors.
Prime is investing heavily in sport, built around the streaming service’s coverage of Premier League football, rugby union, tennis, as well as agenda-setting documentaries.
Patrice Evra and Thierry Henry will be key players in Amazon Prime Video’s football coverage
The platform has pioneered the All of Nothing strand, which has gained incredible access at Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City, and currently has 25 cameras capturing all of the action from the stadium and training facilities at Arsenal.
As revealed by Sportsmail today, an up close and personal examination of Wayne Rooney’s life and career will feature in early 2022, entitled, ‘Rooney’.
At the launch, Rooney said: ‘I wanted it to be honest and touch on everything that has happened in my life. I want people to see me and see my family for who we are and not what has been portrayed.’
In the film, Rooney admits his father gave him a ‘slap’ and he had a lot of fights as a child growing up in a tough area of Liverpool and it includes reflections from team mates, managers, friends and his wife, Coleen.
Another documentary will deliver a deeply moving analysis of boxer Nicola Adams’ rise to Olympic glory despite abuse at home and naysayers across the nation claiming women should not box. It will air from November 12.
‘For me it was almost like therapy,’ said Adams, who became the first female boxer to become an Olympic champion after winning gold at London 2012.
‘Going back through the story right back to the beginning, having nothing to where I am now.’
A hard-hitting documentary, Rooney, about Wayne Rooney’s rise from a Liverpool council estate to football’s world stage will be streamed in early 2022
At the launch, hosted by Gabby Logan, Prime Video announced a new European All or Nothing, featuring Juventus will be released later this year, as well as a behind-the-scenes at Bayern Munich, slated for December.
‘We want to bring exciting, inspiring, and diverse stories from the world of sport to Prime members,’ said Chris Bird, UK MD at Prime Video. ‘We know that our customers love seeing the stories behind the sports and the teams, so we’re delighted to be able offer such a wide range of compelling films and series.’
Meanwhile, the pundit line-ups for football and rugby have been reinforced this season.
Top-flight football coverage will feature expert comment from former Manchester United and France captain, Patrice Evra, and World Cup winner Thierry Henry.
The platform will host all 10 matches on the first weekend in December and again on Boxing Day with Prime Video bosses revealing the number of viewers is increasing each year, hitting a peak last season with three million fans watching Liverpool’s 2-1 victory over Spurs at Anfield in December 2020.
Among the matches featured this term are a Merseyside derby and Manchester United versus Arsenal.
Olympic boxer Nicola Adams will also feature in a new film about what she had to overcome on her journey to a gold medal at London 2012 – she was the first female gold medallist boxer
Looking ahead to the games, Evra, said Everton-Liverpool is all about Everton manager Rafa Benitez facing the Reds after he managed the club for six years and delivered a Champions League victory in 2005
‘He is a courageous man,’ said the former left-back, who won the Premier League five times, the Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup with United,
The event in London was hosted by Gabby Logan
‘I could not believe it until I saw it. I don’t know what reception he will have. I am worried for him.’
Meanwhile, his French compatriot, Henry, Arsenal’s top scorer with 228 goals, is a little gloomy about Arsenal’s chances at Old Trafford in six weeks’ time.
‘Even in my time it was difficult to win there,’ reflected Henry, who was disappointed in his former club’s performance at Brighton before the international break. ‘Hopefully we can, but it will be difficult.’
Prime has also secured the Autumn Nations Series of rugby union, which brings the southern hemisphere’s big hitters to take on the home nations, plus France, Ireland and Italy. The tournament kicks off with Wales versus New Zealand on October 30.
The platform has former England hooker and captain, Dylan Hartley, England centre, Emily Scarratt, Bryan Habana, the ex-South African winger and retired Australian international and Munster coach, Stephen Larkham in its ranks.
All of the talk ahead of the series is about Harlequins livewire, Marcus Smith, and whether he should start the Autumn Internationals after another barnstorming Gallagher Premiership performance.
David Flatman (left) and Dylan Hartley (right) speaking with Gabby Logan on stage at the ‘Prime Video Presents Sport’ event
Pressure is mounting on England head coach Eddie Jones to not just pick Smith, but play him ahead of George Ford and Owen Farrell at fly-half.
For Hartley there is no risk in playing Smith and he will give England the counter attacking flair they have lacked,
‘If you strip back the fanfare, he does all the basics brilliantly,’ said the former Northampton Saints hooker.
‘I strongly believe he should play. He is 100 miles better than all of them. But if England pick him, they have to let him play his way.’
Prime has also put money into tennis, featuring 85 ATP events last year, culminating in Emma Raducanu’s sensational win at the US Open and the platform’s commitment remains this year, said Alex Green, MD Prime Video Sport Europe.
‘We have announced new broadcast talent to bring Prime members expert analysis that is both insightful and entertaining as well as new ways to watch, such as the option for Welsh rugby fans to enjoy their team at the Autumn Nations Series in the Welsh language,’ he added. ‘It’s an exciting year for live tennis, rugby and football on Prime Video in the UK.’