Amazon is reportedly looking to bring live sports streaming to Prime subscribers. The retail giant is said to be in talks with a number of major sports organizations like the NBA, MLB, and NFL over rights to show live games.
People familiar with Amazon’s negotiations spilled the beans to The Wall Street Journal, which reports the company is also interested in showing soccer, lacrosse, and surfing. Some leagues are expected to be included with Prime, though the specifics are unclear for now.“Such a package could attract new members to the $99-a-year Prime program, as well as to a “skinny bundle” of live online channels that Amazon is pursuing,” the report adds.
Amazon, along with rivals like Netflix, has already disrupted the pay TV business with its video streaming service, which offers a growing catalog of TV shows and movies that have allowed some customers to cut their cable subscription.
For now, it’s different with premium live sports, which are harder to get hold of legally outside of traditional broadcast and cable providers. If Amazon is successful in its negotiations, then, those providers will have a bigger threat to worry about.
“As part of their search, Amazon executives have approached traditional TV networks about game rights they aren’t using,” adds WSJ. One source said the company is chasing Univision Communications to secure access to Mexican soccer games it doesn’t show.
“And they have approached Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN and ONE World Sports, which carries niche sports like Russian hockey league matches, for leftover live games, other people said.”
Amazon is even said to be in talks with international organizations with a view to expand its sports service to other countries. It’s thought the company also has plans to show American sports games abroad.
Amazon’s biggest hurdle is that many premium rights are already tight up for the foreseeable future. For instance, the NBA’s deal with ESPN and TNT lasts until the end of the 2025 season, while the NFL has deals with ESPN, Fox, and others until the next decade.
Though that may be the case, Amazon has “the firepower and willingness to bid for top-tier, exclusive sports rights when they become available,” the sources stated.