Report: Amazon Pursuing Live Sports Broadcast Rights

Tech giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has its hands in almost everything these days, and a Bloomberg report today indicates the company is looking into securing the right to stream live sports on its platform.

The live events would almost surely be offered via Amazon’s Prime service, which gives subscribers access to everything from free two-day shipping, to thousands of TV shows and movies, and even unlimited photo storage, among many more benefits.

According to Bloomberg:

Amazon.com Inc. is pursuing video rights to a wide range of sports, including the French Open tennis championship and professional rugby, as the company looks for ways to draw new customers to its online TV service, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The world’s largest online retailer has expressed interest in sports with global appeal, such as tennis, golf, soccer and auto racing, said the people, who took part in talks and asked not to be identified discussing private business plans. Amazon is also interested in popular U.S. sports, such as basketball and baseball, though most rights are unavailable for the foreseeable future.

Such deals would give Amazon a leg up on competitors like Netflix and Hulu, which don’t offer any live broadcasts. If successful, Amazon’s foray into live streaming would also put it in direct competition with traditional cable TV and satellite operators.

“Amazon has been leaning forward on sports. They want to be a new age MSO,” said Tennis Channel Chief Executive Officer Ken Solomon, using the acronym for multiple-system operator, an industry term for cable and satellite companies.

Amazon is a dangerous threat to many industries these days, including shipping, IoT, and automobiles.

While there’s no guarantee that AMZN can strike the needed deals to offer compelling live content, based on the company’s history, it wouldn’t be wise to bet against it.

What started out as a bookseller has grown into the world’s largest online retailer that is now making huge inroads in international markets. The company also has a big presence in cloud computing through its AWS service.

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Amazon shares fell $15.86 (-2.02%) to $768.20 per share in Friday afternoon trading. Despite today’s losses, AMZN has still gained almost 14% year-to-date, nearly doubling the S&P 500’s performance in the same period.

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