Live Sports May Be Next Big Thing For Amazon Prime

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Amazon Prime members could soon be getting more bang for their buck when it comes to entertainment, as the e-commerce giant is rumored to be in talks with major sports leagues and television networks to offer live-streaming of sporting events. 

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reports that Amazon has been in talks with the NBA, MLB, and NFL — as well as smaller leagues for soccer and lacrosse — to obtain rights to stream live games as part of its $99/year Prime subscription service or as an add-on service.

One of the major roadblocks is that many of the rights involved with carrying live sports are already locked up with broadcasters and the leagues each have their own lucrative out-of-market streaming services they sell through pay-TV providers. The biggest prize in streaming sports — NFL Sunday Ticket — is exclusive to AT&T/DirecTV well into the next decade.

In the meantime, sources say the company is also talking directly with traditional TV networks about game rights they have but aren’t actually using. For example, those in the know say Amazon has approached Univision Communication about producing and packaging Mexican soccer league games that don’t air.

Another route the company is taking reportedly involves approaching global leagues, such as Indian Premier League cricket or Russian hockey. This option, the sources say, could give Amazon a toe in the door when it comes to sports, and the ability to tailor service to customers, thus creating a better return on investment.

The WSJ reports that while Amazon isn’t the first company to pursue streaming live games, if it is successful in the venture it could be the first significant interruption of traditional pay TV’s bread-and-butter.

A senior sports executive tells the WSJ that Amazon’s plan could work, as the company appears to be focused on the “long game, while near-term financial returns drive the agenda for most companies.”

Amazon Explores Possible Premium Sports Package With Prime Membership [The Wall Street Journal]

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