Amazon has sporting ambitions
welcome to Amazon Sports. it’s not yet, but soon could be the $1.69 trillion behemoth's new line as it looks to get started into sports.
sports looks like the next logical step for Amazon, for whom the question naturally arises: "we have the users, they spend time with us - how can we maximise both?". and since it's becoming increasingly clear that the future of live sport is streaming, Amazon is aggressively making its bets, before everyone else joins in.
for instance, last week, it secured a deal to broadcast 80% of French league football’s top-tier games, also known as Ligue 1 (and Ligue 2), for about 275 million Euros ($333 million) a year. yes, the Ligue 1 is no Premier League or La Liga, but it still boasts of world-class players such as Kylian Mbappé and Neymar, among others. this also helps Amazon get a seat at the table, come the next round of bidding for rights.
moreover this represents a slight shift in Amazon’s approach to live sports streaming, which began in 2017. it is used to picking up smaller bundles — say a set number of matches in a premium tournament like the Premier League. that has changed with the successful Ligue 1 bid. it also signalled a long-term commitment to the space by acquiring exclusive rights to the NFL’s ‘Thursday Night Football’, an American household staple, at $1 billion per season, starting in 2022.
but even there, it is thinking local, procuring rights for its audiences in specific markets/territories — for instance, it bought streaming rights to all of New Zealand Cricket’s international matches for Indian audiences.
where does this all lead? sports is a language that everyone speaks. among streaming players, Disney does this best through ESPN. Amazon has just decided to go toe-to-toe with it after buying MGM. sports is just another round in that fight.