Twitch is primarily known for video game streaming, but with the return of the English Premier League, the Amazon-owned service is opening up possibilities for shared viewing and the creation of community in new spaces.

This is according to a report by Deadline, which says that Amazon is planning to stream live Premier League matches to which it has the rights for free on the platform, a move that will give fans a chance to interact with each other.

Not only does it bring a functionality that has long proved popular with gamers for creating a sense of togetherness among viewers, it will also allow the company to pivot its Premier League matches into marketing for the service by attracting new viewers beyond the gaming community.

For Amazon, which has already broadcast a handful of games under a deal that many read as an introduction to a powerful new force in sport, the restart of the league has opened up an opportunity to acquire four more games.

“We have made a number of additions that bring extra choice to our customers in how they watch, from full-crowd Stadium Atmosphere to streaming our Prime Video fixtures on leading streaming service, Twitch,” said Alex Green, managing director of Amazon Prime Video Sport Europe.

Twitch is the 35th most viewed site on the internet, it’s seeing vast growth in users and viewing time, and it’s increasingly the preferred channel for an e-sports space that is fast becoming too powerful to ignore.

It’s not the platform’s first foray into analogue sport. Sports partners in the US include National Women’s Hockey Association, USA Basketball, the NBA and NFL Thursday Night Football.

It has also partnered with a lot of traditional media companies. In the entertainment sphere, for example, Saturday Night Live has a channel on Twitch, while Viacom recently launched a channel on Twitch for one of its shows.

Meanwhile, in a sign of the platform’s growing importance not only in culture, Twitch is emerging as a key medium through which Black Lives Matter protests are broadcasting the message.

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen creators live-streaming content from the protests and engaging their communities in open conversations around race, inequality and how to effect change,” said Brielle Villablanca, a Twitch spokeswoman, in comments to the New York Times.

Sourced from Deadline, WARC, the New York Times