Amazon, good first. There was great anticipation last night for Prime Video’s historic football debut in Italy, with the exclusive broadcast of the European Super Cup, won on penalties by Chelsea against Villareal. The debut, for the streaming platform owned by Jeff Bezos, was nothing short of convincing. Excellent image quality, refined and enjoyable product, and above all fluidity of streaming even for those who do not have a particularly good internet connection.
The American giant, on the other hand, has an experience gained over the years in Europe, with solid network coverage, which has all been seen in this debut in the Italian market. An important test, given that for the next three seasons Amazon Prime Video will broadcast live and in absolute exclusive, in addition to the Super Cup, 16 Champions League games, specifically the best match on Wednesday evening.
The debut of Prime Video yesterday, in short, showed us that broadcasting football in streaming in our country with a certain quality is possible, if you have the means, the ability and the desire to invest also from a technical point of view. Of course, the real test will come with the start of the Champions League and the presence of an Italian team that will certainly lead to more traffic, but the debut is promising.
Even reading the comments on social networks and specialized forums, almost all users appreciated the general quality of the product, both at the video level, with an excellent Full HD (1080p) in fact comparable to the satellite vision guaranteed by Sky, both, as mentioned, for the fluidity of the streaming, with the annoying wheel that turns that in fact has never been seen. The only flaw from a technical point of view is the absence of 4K HDR, which however should be available, for those with a good connection, with the start of the Champions League. The delay on smart TV compared to live is about 30 seconds. Also noteworthy is the possibility of subtitles and dual audio, with the possibility of hearing the effects from the stadium. In addition, the full highlights and post-match interviews were also uploaded at the end of the match.
The journalistic story of Chelsea-Villareal was also very popular, with Sandro Piccinini returning to the news after three years of hiatus. A teacher who has revolutionized the way of telling football on TV and who has shown that he knows how to involve and thrill like few others, despite having skipped a few laps. On the other hand, when you know how to do your job well, it’s a bit like riding a bicycle.
There were some historical catchphrases of the former Mediaset commentator, from “‘ccezionale”, passing through “wrong”, “incredible”, and “wild bunch”. Typical styles of his way of accompanying the spectator during the game, which have sent some users into raptures on social networks, in abstinence of “sabering”. Alongside Piccinini, Amazon chose Massimo Ambrosini. The former Milan midfielder has a calm style, never rhetorical or necessarily emphatic, but capable with his interventions to add a few more elements in the understanding, tactical and not only, of the match.
The pre and post game, in a rather minimal studio, is entrusted to Giulia Mizzoni, a competent former DAZN journalist who guaranteed rhythm and interesting ideas. For her, too, the real test will be with the start of the group stage of the new Champions, when Amazon has foreseen a very long (perhaps too much) pre-match of 90 minutes, with the alternation of talents such as Julio Cesar, Federico Balzaretti, Claudio Marchisio, Gianfranco Zola, Luca Toni and Clarence Seedorf.
But the real interesting insight that the European Super Cup experience gives us is another. Amazon’s descent into streaming football has inevitably raised the bar for all competitors. Comparisons with DAZN are inevitable, the platform owned by Ukrainian tycoon Len Blavatnik who entered our market three years ago with the transmission of three Serie A matches per round and which this year has secured the rights to all the matches of the top league. , seven of which are exclusive and three are co-exclusive with Sky.
You will all remember the dramatic debut three years ago, with frequent freezes and annoying streaming interruptions. In this period of time, DAZN has certainly made several steps forward, but now, with the exclusive of the Serie A, the definitive leap in quality is expected. Otherwise the comparison with Amazon Prime Video risks being merciless.
From a journalistic point of view, DAZN immediately guaranteed freshness and a desire to rejuvenate the story of football. For the next season the team has been further strengthened, with the arrival of journalists such as Marco Cattaneo (ex Sky, in cohabitation with Amazon) and Giorgia Rossi (ex Mediaset), and commentators such as Ambrosini, Barzagli, Montolivo and Matri himself. . On a technical level, it is important to repeat it, a turning point will be needed to manage important traffic flows as only Serie A can attract.
DAZN, as we know, has a colossus like Tim behind it, and this, hopefully, should be a guarantee of greater stability. It must be said, however, that at the moment the video quality should not improve compared to the last few seasons, with an HD at 720p, as specified by the same company in the recent Agcom and AGCM investigations. Therefore, less than what Amazon or Sky guarantee through NOW. The hope is that first of all we want to make the network more stable and then increase the quality.
What is certain is that we are facing a turning point in the way of enjoying football on TV, with Sky for the first time without the big pot of Serie A (only three matches in turn) – therefore inevitably withdrawn and worried about stem the haemorrhage of subscribers – and the increasingly predominant streaming. Amazon started well and raised the bar, now, with the start of the championship, the response from DAZN is awaited.