Amazon scouring industry for live sports licensing deals: Report

Amazon is still searching for elusive live sports licensing deals that can hopefully give it a leg up in the ever-expanding SVOD competitive landscape.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the e-commerce site and Prime Video operator has been in talks with major sports leagues including the NFL, NBA, and MLB in hopes of securing rights to carry live games. Amazon is proposing options including an exclusive sports package that would be offered alongside its Prime Video service.

The new report surfaces just months after Bloomberg reported that Amazon was in the market for live sports. In that report from September, sources said that Amazon was looking into rights for rugby and tennis.

Sponsored by Google Cloud

Webinar: Remote Post Production In The Cloud

Video production companies across the world have traditionally been tethered to physical facilities, but with the advent of covid-19, remote post production capabilities are more important than ever. Join this webinar to learn more about how video producers can utilize Google Cloud infrastructure, along with partner applications, to develop a remote post production suite that brings your artists and editors together, no matter where they are.

RELATED: Amazon in talks to livestream tennis and rugby, wants to be ‘new-age MSO,’ says programmer

“Amazon has been leaning forward on sports. They want to be a new age MSO,” Tennis Channel CEO Ken Solomon told Bloomberg. Solomon said that Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned Tennis Channel has been in talks with Amazon for quite some time.

Tennis and rugby rights may be more readily available but major hurdles still exist for would-be distributors looking for live sports deals with the NFL or NBA. Namely, the bulk of the live programming rights for those leagues have been locked up for multiple years by major broadcasters including CBS and Fox and cable networks including TNT.

But as Disney is looking to offer an ESPN live sports streaming service through its BAMTech ownership and Twitter has been able to secure live streaming rights for some NFL games, Amazon may be looking to settle a bit just to keep some skin in the game.

According to the report, Amazon has been going to traditional networks and seeking deals to livestream the leftover games that are not being aired. Sources told the WSJ that Amazon has approached Univision about packaging up unused Mexican soccer league games, as well as ESPN and ONE World Sports about less in-demand rights including Russian hockey league matches.

Amazon has also reportedly approached the Atlantic Coast Conference, Campus Insiders, 120 Sports, the National Lacrosse League, Major League Lacrosse and the World Surf League.

RELATED: Amazon Prime Video service reportedly prepping huge global expansion

While live sports negotiations are ongoing, Amazon apparently looks ready to launch a large-scale global expansion for its Amazon Prime Video service. Before the end of the year, Amazon Prime could be available in nearly 200 countries, making it a more formidable international foe for Netflix, which is already operating many countries outside of the U.S.

In order to fully take on new international markets, analysts anticipate Amazon will have to beef up its video content budget in order to go after local programming deals, which could lead Amazon’s video budget to hit upwards of $7 billion in 2017.

Suggested Articles

Early reactions to Instagram's Reels, Facebook's answer to TikTok: no creativity seen, quite possibly no creativity needed.

Quibi subs complain about the quality of the shows, the ease of use of the platform and issues with buffering and speed, according to Kantar.

Roku found itself with more viewers than ever in its second quarter but still no profits.