- Amazon is in talks with the NFL, NBA, MLB and MLS about live streaming sports through its Amazon Prime video service, according to The Wall Street Journal. Amazon Prime currently costs $99 a year for a subscription.
- Live sports has been one of the last strongholds of linear broadcast and pay cable TV, as well as one of the final examples of "destination viewing," where viewers want to watch games in real-time rather than record them for later. Amazon could then pose a major threat to traditional TV by offering a digital alternative, but might run into obstacles, as the Journal notes many brands like the NBA and the NFL are tied up in long-standing contracts with cable broadcasters.
- Twitter has also been active cutting deals with professional sports organizations, most notably through a 10-game package with NFL and original sponsored programming for the NBA. Facebook is another social media company interested in streaming sports as part of its overall push into live video.
Cord cutting and a proliferation of digital devices to watch programming on have hurt traditional TV broadcasters nearly across the board this year. The trend has even eroded the ratings of juggernauts like the NFL, making online options like Twitter, Facebook and the expected Amazon service more appealing to sports organizations and their sponsors.
A Prime sports platform would potentially be at a disadvantage against competition like Twitter, as the latter has second screening capabilities like live tweeting, which enhance in-the-moment interactivity; however, Twitter streams can only be cast to larger screens through select services, while Prime is presumably integrated on more set-top boxes. Amazon also might have better targeting data based on customers transactional history, making it a more attractive platform for sponsors.
“Amazon’s ability to aggregate information about individual consumers is without peer,” Alexander Brown, the chief executive of TV network ONE World Sports, told the Journal.
With a potential push into live sports, Amazon continues to expand its digital reach via Prime, which also hosts streaming music, original and aggregated video content and even gaming tied to its Twitch Interactive acquisition.