Is Amazon aiming beyond sports broadcast rights?

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Amazon broadcasting rights Image: MJR Group Ltd.

After Amazon’s pioneering move to secure the online broadcasting rights for English Premier League (EPL) football matches in a bidding war for sports events last month, it is being reported that the online retailing giant is in the race to replace Ticketmaster as the ticketing platform for National Football League (NFL).

Amazon will show 20 Premier League matches a season for three years in the UK, starting from the 2019/20 season. The US company is breaking the recent dominance of Sky and BT Sport of lucrative TV rights in a first for the online sector that is threatening to shake up the traditional sports right market, Agence France Presse said in a report on the deal.

The global online retailer has built up an increasingly impressive sports portfolio in both the Britain and the US including US Open tennis, ATP World Tour Tennis events – where they outbid Sky for UK rights by offering £50 million – and NFL games.

Describing the report about Amazon likely replacing Ticketmaster as NFL’s ticketing platform as “still just speculation” but “certainly very interesting”, Digital Sport website said that if the deal comes through it would a first of its kind deal where “the purveyors of Thursday Night Football in the US become ticket distributors for the league, too”.

Because although Amazon distributing tickets for the NFL isn’t, in itself, aneEarth-shattering thought, the fact that the company is willing to be both a logistics partner in terms of tickets and also a broadcasting partner feels like the next piece of the puzzle for the retailer-turned-broadcaster, Digital Sport reasoned in its report.

The report put forward arguments by an expert to build on the hypothesis: “Romily Broad argued that EFL clubs need to start thinking more like the retail giant in the wake of the deal. The crux of his argument was that because Amazon doesn’t make most of its money from its video content offering, it is able to use live sport as a means to bring people to its platform and sell them more stuff there.”

Put like that, you can see what Amazon is getting in the short term. Interestingly though, we might be able to see what they’re looking to get in the longer term from this NFL news: a relationship with one of the most popular sports in the world which goes beyond mere broadcasting rights, but reaches into ticketing and then maybe merchandising as well, the report said, adding: “Amazon doesn’t have to prove anything when it comes to logistics, but doing a deal with some of the world’s best loved sports leagues gets them a foot in the door.”

Amazon’s recent movements obviously point to a company that wants to get more involved with sport, but you can bet that’s not just because they think live Premier League or NFL games would look good on Prime, it concluded.

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