Amazon currently offers a large variety of movies and television for streaming with Prime membership, but the retail giant is looking to add a premium live sports package, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
The company has reportedly held talks with the sports leagues including the NBA, MLB, NFL and MLS over the last few months. Amazon has also shown an interest in sports leagues like the World Surf League, Indian Premier League, Liga MX and the Continental Hockey League as it gets ready for global expansion of its streaming video service.
Most of the major sports leagues already have deals with cable or satellite networks that last for a few years: NFL and CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN, MLB with Fox and NBA with ESPN. It will be pretty challenging for Amazon to grab major sports leagues away from its competitors. Amazon did previously try to get an exclusive license NBA League Pass, but was denied by the league. The NFL’s deal with Twitter to stream 10 games last until the current season ends, which could be the framework for Amazon’s partnership going forward.
The news was confirmed back in April by both the NFL in a press release, and by Adam Bain Twitter’s COO. Bain said the deal would allow streaming of full games, as well as pre-and post-game shows, and behind-the-scenes footage broadcast on Periscope. Twitter beat both Amazon and Verizon in securing rights to the games, but sources close to the process said the social media company paid less than $10 million for all 10 games, according to a report from Recode.
Back in September, more than two million people watch the NFL’s Thursday Night football game on Twitter - this game, between the New England Patriots and Houston Texans. That’s more than the 2.1 million who watched Twitter’s NFL live streaming debut.
Yahoo! also streams daily MLB matchups this season and offers an NHL game of the week. Sling TV also streams live network coverage, but offers additional add-ons like NHL Network and NFL Redzone.
“My sense is they are interested in anything that might be out there,” said Athletic Coast Conference vice president of digital, Chad Swofford, told the Wall Street Journal. Amazon may have to start with sports like surfing and lacrosse as it will take a while for it to snag any of the major sports leagues. Amazon could use those sports events as a way of promoting its sports package and negotiate deals with other leagues.