The decision makers at the Premier League and IMG Media are finally starting to wise up. Classic Premier League matches and goal highlights are now available on iTunes, but only in the UK iTunes store, for now.
The deal between the Premier League, IMG Media and Apple means that iTunes users in the United Kingdom can now download up to 50 Classic Matches from 5 seasons from 2002/03 up to and including 2006/07. Each season will consist of a collection of 12 episodes: 10 x 30 minute extended highlights of Classic Matches and one hour Goals of the Season and Review of the Season programming. Each download will cost £1.49 and £9.99 for an entire season.
Website PaidContent.co.uk asked the Premier League whether it plans on adding up-to-date football coverage to iTunes in the near future. The Premier League sadly said no. More on that later in this article.
After browsing through the UK iTunes store, here are just some of the classic matches and highlight packages available:
- 2006-2007 season: Everton 2-4 Manchester United
- 2006-2007 season: West Ham 3-4 Tottenham Hotspur
- 2006-2007 Goals of the Season and Review of Season
- 2005-2006 season: Blackburn Rovers 4-3 Manchester United
- 2005-2006 season: Wigan Athletic 4-3 Manchester City
- 2005-2006 Goals of the Season and Review of Season
- 2004-2005 season: West Brom 2-0 Portsmouth
- 2004-2005 season: Arsenal 7-0 Everton
- 2004-2005 season: Tottenham 4-5 Arsenal
- 2004-2005 Goals of the Season and Review of Season
- 2003-2004 season: Charlton 4-2 Chelsea
- 2003-2004 season: Manchester City 4-1 Man United
- 2003-2004 season: Tottenham 4-4 Leicester
- 2003-2004 Goals of the Season and Review of Season
- 2002-2003 season: Arsenal 6-1 Southampton
- 2002-2003 season: Man United 5-3 Newcastle
- 2002-2003 season: Tottenham 4-3 Everton
- 2002-2003 Goals of the Season and Review of Season
Each classic game is a 30-minute extended highlights of the game. The goals of the season and review of the season (each separability available for purchase) is one hour each — at the same £1.49 price. Or you can buy the entire season of classic games (10 games plus the goal highlights and season review) for £9.99.
You can also watch a free 30-second preview of each episode.
IMG Media and the Premier League plan on releasing more episodes in the near future. According to the article in Paid Content, “if you want to watch highlights from current matches, you’ll have to wait until the season after next” due to the BBC having rights to the highlights package.
This is a giant step forward in the right direction by IMG and the Premier League. Let’s hope that they’re able to work similar deals with Apple and rights holders in countries outside the United Kingdom. Hopefully if the launch of these classic games is a success, it’ll open their eyes to releasing more archive content and may help to modernize the Premier League’s archaic rights agreements to open the floodgates for live and/or tape delayed highlights that are legal and offered at reasonable prices.
UPDATE: A representative from the Premier League Archive (nice site by the way at http://www.plarchive.com) says there are no current plans to launch the Premier League Archive content on iTunes USA. “If however, the content is a success in iTunes UK then we will consider launching on other iTunes store worldwide.”