Amazon has held talks with a number of sports leagues including the NFL, NBA, MLB, and MLS as it explores the possibility of incorporating live sports with Prime, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
In talks with the leagues, Amazon has reportedly broached the idea of an exclusive sports package that could be sold alongside its Prime subscription, which could help attract new customers to the $99 a year service. Amazon has also reportedly shown an interest in sports leagues like the World Surf League, Indian Premier League (cricket), Liga MX, and the Kontinental Hockey League as it prepares for the global expansion of its streaming video service.
Whether or not it will be able to actually land the major sports leagues is another question. All of the major leagues have deals with cable or satellite networks that run for years: NFL with CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN, and DirecTV; the NBA with ESPN and TNT; and the MLB with TBS and Fox. Outside of offering the same pay packages the leagues currently offer online and through cable providers, it will be impossible for Amazon to grab major US sports leagues away from its competitors until the next decade.
Amazon did reportedly try to exclusively license NBA League Pass, but was denied by the league which preferred to keep the offering widely available. The NFL’s deal with Twitter to stream 10 games ends after this season, which could allow Amazon to get its foot in the door, but it had the opportunity to snag the rights this past year and didn’t come away with them.
Given that Amazon is known for playing the long game, it’s possible that the service will eventually come away with live game rights for a major sports league. At the least, it will make cable companies uncomfortable to know that a company with Amazon’s cash reserves is interested in bringing live sports to the internet.