Amazon Prime Video UK is becoming an increasingly essential service for sports fans. In the first of a two-part series, FinalBoss dons its kit to take a look at some of the best Amazon Prime Video UK sports documentaries and live events.
Note: This article was updated in May 2021
And It’s Live! What’s Live on Amazon Prime Video UK?
In December 2019, Amazon Prime broadcast live Premier League football for the first time.
This hyped-up performance showcased 20 matches across 2 rounds – and they will do so again through the 2021/22 season. Their coverage has been well-received, with each match treated like a big event. There was an onsite presentation team at every venue and they seemingly had their pick of personnel, borrowing many faces and voices familiar to football fans from their work with the likes of BBC, ITV and BT. Gabby Logan and Simon Thomas have presented the biggest matches with Clive Tyldesley, Peter Drury and Jon Champion their most regular commentators. Ally McCoist, building on the popularity he gained at the 2018 World Cup, has been a big hit, bringing some much-needed enthusiasm to the commentary box. There’s no doubt they could go all out because they only had two rounds to cover. Who’s knows if that would be sustainable if they were to win a bigger chunk of matches, but it was certainly a positive start.
Football was not Amazon Prime Video’s first foray into live sport. In 2018 they became the exclusive broadcaster of US Open Tennis, one of the four biggest events on that sports’ calendar. In 2019 they began a four-year deal to provide live coverage from 37 men’s tennis events (the ATP Tour) and added to that from 2020 with a similar four-year deal to show women’s tennis (the WTA Tour) which includes a minimum of 49 events per year. Tennis has one of the longest seasons in all sport, with play spanning the first 11 months of the year and Amazon will have live action nearly every week. Catherine Whitaker and Marcus Buckland are the regular hosts, frequently joined by Greg Rusedski and Daniela Hantuchova. Familiar voices Sam Smith, Mark Petchey, Tim Henman and Annabel Croft are amongst the regular commentators. The best thing about the coverage is instant access to full match replays which they provide without displaying the score so you can watch spoiler-free.
In the autumn of 2020, Amazon Prime showed live rugby union for the first time, broadcasting matches from the Autumn Nations Cup. As with their football coverage, Amazon assembled a team of big names, mixing talent from across other channels, including Gabby Logan, Andrew Cotter, Conor McNamara alongside Sam Warburton and David Flatman. There may well be more rugby to come, with Amazon linked with a role in the next rights deal for the Six Nations and future Autumn Internationals.
The Best Amazon Prime UK Sports Documentaries
Speaking of tennis, Andy Murray Resurfacing debuted on the service at the end of November 2019 in one of the best Amazon Prime UK sports documentaries available on the platform. The cameras followed the Scot through the year, as he made his way back from potentially career-ending hip surgery. If you want an insight into the kind of battles top-level athletes face when injured, then this is the Amazon Prime Video sports documentary for you. There’s plenty of pain on display as Murray fights through the rehabilitation programme with support from his family and coaching team. Tennis lovers will also enjoy Strokes Of Genius, which showcases the rivalry between superstars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
All Or Nothing is an Amazon Prime Video original sports documentary series that follows one team through a season. It initially began with NFL teams and has covered the Arizona Cardinals (2015), Los Angeles Rams (2016), Dallas Cowboys (2017), Carolina Panthers (2018) and the Philadelphia Eagles (2019). The behind the scenes of this Amazon Prime Video sports documentary is fascinating. Whilst everyone knows about the on-field practice and gym time, the amount of time spent studying and in meetings is astounding. The series shows the level of detail that coaches and players go into during their match preparation.
The Amazon Prime Video sports documentary has spread its wings to follow a college football team (Michigan Wolverines, 2017), a rugby team (New Zealand, 2018) and two Premier League teams. They were with Manchester City in 2018/19 and then followed Tottenham Hotspur for the 2019/20 season. It turned out to be a turbulent time, with the clubs most successful and loved manager of recent times Mauricio Pochettino sacked early in the season. He was replaced by one of the most high-profile managers in the world in Jose Mourinho, who had to deal with a COVID-interrupted season. From club football to international, with the Brazil national football team. The cameras followed them through their victorious 2019 Copa America campaign. Despite missing the event through injury, there’s still plenty of Neymar!
All Or Nothing shows no signs of slowing down, with three series currently in progress. There will be town series showcasing European football through the 2020/21 season. First up Bayern Munich, fresh from winning the delayed Champions League in 2020 and on the verge of another Bundesliga title. Then there’s Juventus. Cristiano Ronaldo and co have had a disappointing season, crashing out to Porto in the Champions League and struggling by their standards in Serie A, losing their crown after 9 successive Championships. In North America, the series covers ice hockey and the NHL for the first time. The Toronto Maple Leafs are under the microscope. At the time of writing, they lead their division and will be hoping for a long run in the Stanley Cup finals.
Football fans are well served by Amazon Prime Video UK documentaries. Take Us Home covers Leeds United in the Championship in 2018/19. A giant of English football trying to get back into the top tier, they appointed a high profile manager, Marcelo Bielsa, and invited in the cameras to capture their return to the Premier League. Shame it didn’t quite work out.
During the same season, another Amazon team was making Inside Borussia Dortmund. The Bundesliga club have a history of developing young players before they move onto bigger things and are currently the home of English wonderkid Jadon Sancho. The show mixes the diary of a season format with club history so you get a feel for where the club is now in relation to its past. If you don’t mind subtitles or are a German speaker, it’s a worthwhile watch. This Is Football is another Amazon Prime Video sports documentary series that looks at the impact of the global game all around the world. Take The Ball, Pass The Ball examines the incredibly successful Barcelona team managed by Pep Guardiola, focussing on the period between 2008 and 2012. In Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo: The One and Only you’ll find documentaries dedicated to the two best footballers of recent times.
There are a surprising amount of documentaries dedicated to one particular sportsperson. Subjects including Pele, Muhammed Ali, Joe Calzaghe, Lebron James and Serena Williams are amongst a host of big names with features made about them.
For cricket fans, The Edge is a recent addition to the Amazon Prime Video sports documentary catalogue. It’s a talking-heads style documentary with insight from many of the key players as the England Test side rose to be the number 1 team in the world.
Building Jerusalem does something similar with the English Rugby Union team, charting the journey to success at the 2003 World Cup.
Even better than The Edge is the new cricket addition The Test. Through eight episodes the series follows the Australian team over eighteen months. It begins with the appointment of Justin Langer as coach in 2018 and goes through until the end of the 2019 Ashes series in England. As always it’s the dressing room viewing that’s riveting. You get to see the preparation and team talks, and even better the reaction of coaches and players to the team’s on-field performance.
Also in Australia, Making Their Mark, is one of the newest documentaries to hit Amazon Prime. It follows the 2020 AFL season through the eyes of personnel from six different teams.
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