Amazon Wants To Secure Live Sports Broadcasting Rights For Prime Customers

Amazon is trying to persuade sports fans to give up their cable networks and join Prime. To pull this off, Amazon is currently negotiating to carry live streaming video of sporting events. The company is particularly interested in sports with international appeal such as tennis, golf, soccer, rugby, and auto racing.

Tennis Channel Chief Executive Officer Ken Solomon remarked, “Amazon has been leaning forward on sports. They want to be a new age MSO (multiple systems operator).” Solomon claims he has been in talks with Amazon for over a year.

Live sport offerings could give Amazon an edge over competitors like Netflix, and it could help it break into traditional television’s monopoly over the genre. The biggest challenge with sports events is securing rights. The NFL and NBA already have tight contracts. According to Bloomberg, Walt Disney’s ESPN pays nearly $2 billion a year for access to the NFL.

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon has mentioned offering certain events as part of Prime Video.The MLB has its own network and streams baseball games through apps and services. Amazon could also possibly offer a subscription to the MLB like it already does for Showtime, Starz, SeeSo, Acorn, and other outside channels.

Sports are one of the few forms of entertainment that traditional television companies still dominate. CBS, NBC, Fox, Turner Sports, and ESPN have the rights to show most major sporting events in the United States. This tendency, however, is slowly starting to change. Twitter recently acquired the rights to stream several events, including professional American football. Netflix has not expressed any interest in streaming live sport events.

It is currently unclear whether sporting events would cost customers extra or would be incorporated into the $99 USD/year they already pay for Amazon Prime. 63 million people in the United States currently subscribe to Amazon Prime.