According to a new report, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is serious about live streaming sports, and is in talks to secure rights to multiple major U.S. sports leagues.
The move would pit Amazon against traditional broadcasters as the race to offer live streaming content continues in earnest. From the Wall Street Journal:
In recent months, the e-commerce giant has been in talks for live game rights with heavy-hitters like the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Football League, as well as smaller players like Major League Soccer, the Atlantic Coast Conference, college sports network Campus Insiders, 120 Sports, National Lacrosse League, Major League Lacrosse and World Surf League, the people said.
The streams would almost certainly be offered via Amazon’s Prime service, perhaps for an additional fee, although a basic package included with Prime could also be in the works:
With at least some leagues, including the NBA, Amazon has floated creating a premium, exclusive sports package that would accompany a Prime membership, though the details are unclear, the people said. A premium sports package could entice new subscribers to Prime and to Amazon’s potential “skinny bundle” of live channels online.
A couple of months ago, reports surfaced that Amazon was pursuing more international-focused sports like cricket, rugby, and tennis. Today’s news is perhaps much more intriguing, with the company taking a stab at the incredibly lucrative American sports world.
The biggest stumbling blocks for Amazon here will be price and availability. All of the U.S. major sports leagues have exclusive rights deals with broadcasters like TNT, ESPN, and FOX that won’t expire for nearly a decade.
One thing is for sure, however: with AT&T’s DirecTV set to roll out its streaming-only DirecTV Now service very soon, any companies looking to compete in the live streaming space are on watch to get their ducks in a row quickly.
Amazon shares rose $16.85 (+2.22%) to $777.01 in Monday afternoon trading. Year-to-date, AMZN has gained 14.97%, more than doubling the performance of the benchmark S&P 500 during the same period.