Amazon is taking yet another step toward satisfying cord cutters’ every television need. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the online retailer — which has already gone to great lengths to prove that it’s much more than just your digital shopping destination — is “exploring an ambitious offensive aimed at infiltrating the last bastion of traditional pay-television: live sports.” This builds upon an earlier report from the Journal, noting that Amazon will also be giving streaming services like Netflix a run for their money by preparing for a global launch.
The Journal reports that over the last few months, Jeff Bezos’ company has held negotiations for live game rights with industry giants like the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, and the National Football League, as well as other such groups as Major League Soccer, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), college sports network Campus Insiders, 120 Sports, National Lacrosse League, Major League Lacrosse, and World Surf League.
“My sense is they are interested in anything that might be out there,” said Chad Swofford, vice president of digital for the ACC, a college sports conference, told the WSJ. But for the time being, Amazon is staying tight-lipped on any plans for expansion its Prime Video service may have.
If Amazon is indeed scouting new entry points into sports broadcasting, which could be a highly lucrative business, it would seem to make sense. After all, live sports is one of the last differentiable elements offered by traditional cable and satellite television platforms. Some other major tech players have already begun streaming such events — Facebook and Twitter are both in the game, and Amazon may be playing a bit of catch-up at this point.
But don’t get too excited about the possibility of live sports being added to Amazon. It won’t come free — even if you already have a Prime subscription. As the Journal reports, “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.”
As for its plans for worldwide domination, sources claim that Amazon is interested in bringing its video service to around 200 countries and territories. Today, Amazon Prime Video can only be accessed by those in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria, and Japan, though India is forthcoming. That said, however, it would appear that Amazon has its sights set on a much larger piece of the pie — the whole pie, in fact. with a planned launch in India.
Updated on 11-22-2016 to reflect news of Amazon’s global expansion.