Amazon is looking to acquire streaming rights for a variety of sports games in order to resurge their stock shares, which had fallen almost 2% on Friday morning.
In 2015, Amazon initiated a streaming service on their website that gave users the option to pay for popular movies or shows. The idea was a bust as most of its options were also available on other platforms like Netflix or Hulu. Amazon announced this week that its proposed new streaming choices will be set apart from other services; the e-commerce giant plans to only stream sports games that are unavailable on other sites, thus eliminating potential competition.
Amazon’s streaming service Prime hosts roughly 50 million users globally but that number is slowly dwindling, and especially with competition from Netflix—which boasts almost two times the amount of users than Prime has—the streaming platform is hoping to gain traction through sporting events, an asset (legally) inaccessible on most sites. For $99 a year, a Prime subscription is reportedly going to let users in on various events, from the French Open to rugby matches to possibly NBA
Over the last year, Amazon has spent billions of dollars on their pay-TV service alone, and splurging on deals with sport networks and corporations leaves room for more monetary risk. Free sport streaming services have been cropping up all over the web: Twitter recently signed partnerships with the NFL and NBA, and CBS is a leader in streaming baseball, golf, soccer, and most other American sports. If Amazon is first dipping its toes into sports streaming water, either Prime will entice an ocean of new users or it will throw millions of dollars into a futile pool of sports content that’s available elsewhere for less money.
While these plans are in the works, it isn’t easy to secure rights. ESPN alone pays $2 billion to stream all NFL games on their site, and that’s just one association. Amazon declines to comment on funding the proposed sports deals.
Ken Solomon, Tennis Channel Chief Executive Officer, said in a Bloomberg interview that it would look forward to teaming up with Prime.
“Amazon has been leaning forward on sports. They want to be a new age MSO,” the CEO said, using the acronym for multiple-system operator. “We’ve made it a point to talk to everyone,” he said about his company Group Inc., which has apparently had conversations with Amazon regarding sports partnerships for the past year.
Nothing is set in stone, yet. Rumors that Prime will start streaming golf, rugby matches, soccer, and NASCAR may become a reality, but they might not. Whichever direction the company decides to move in, it needs to take meticulous care in setting up the new sports streaming service or it could put its corporation in real financial danger.