Amazon is vying for video rights on a “wide range” of sports, from French Open tennis to golf to car racing, according to Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw, who cites people with knowledge of the matter.
The theme: Amazon wants sports with global appeal, Bloomberg’s sources said. Amazon is also interested in marquee US sports like basketball and baseball, but unfortunately the rights for those are locked up pretty tight.
There could be ways around that, Bloomberg notes. Amazon could do deals that offered league streaming packages as an add-on to Prime, like it currently does with Showtime. The MLB, for instance, offers a single-team streaming package for $84.99 per year. Or Amazon could do deals that would give Prime members limited access as a way to promote and upsell the league’s own offering.
Amazon has even mulled the idea of snagging enough live sports programming to make an entirely separate streaming package, according to Bloomberg.
Clearly the details have yet to be worked out on how Amazon will tackle sports, but the fact that it’s being so seriously pursued in significant. Amazon has been ramping up spending on TV shows and movies for its Prime offering, which competes with Netflix.
In July, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said
that Amazon would “nearly double” its investment in all types of video, while “tripling” the amount of Amazon’s original content, over the rest of 2016. This mirrors Netflix’s own gargantuan spending on TV shows and movies, particularly original ones.
But live sports would be something new.
Netflix executives have repeatedly said they have no interest in live sports programming, and that it simply wouldn’t jive with the nature of their service. Netflix is all about on-demand, and sports are appointment viewing.
Amazon has also been rumoured, for a while, to be creating its own cable-replacement live TV service. If the company brings it to market, it will compete with upcoming offerings from the likes of Hulu and AT&T, along with established “skinny bundle” player Sling TV, and Sony’s PlayStation Vue.
Additional reporting by Eugene Kim.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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