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Is Amazon Prime Set To Go After OZ Sporting Rights?

Foxtel, and key partner Fox Sports, could soon face a new battle with Amazon Prime, who is set to officially enter the Australian market in to late December,is set to start bidding for major sports events.

While the move could deliver higher returns for Australian sporting codes it could be a major problem for the News Corporation owned Fox Sports who are already struggling to hold onto audiences.

Amazon.com who this week rolled out access to Amazon Prime in Australia wrapped around the release of their latest hit show The Grand Tour which has been described as its biggest TV success after saying it has broken viewing records – but they won’t say how many watched people it from Australia.

Former Top Gear stars Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May’s new show has been a smash hit with tens of thousands of Australians viewing their latest offering.

Amazon Prime says its first episode has become the subscription service’s biggest premiere, beating previous number one show on the service, 2015’s The Man in The High Castle.

It’s now been revealed that in the USA the e-commerce giant has been in talks with heavy hitters like the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Football League for the rights to carry live games, according to people familiar with the matter.

In Europe, they are tipped to go after various football leagues including the UK Premier League.

An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment on its sports efforts.

The Wall Street Journal said that if Amazon is successful in breaking into the premium-sports market, it could pose a significant threat to traditional pay TV. While streaming, services offer a wide array of TV shows and movies, it is hard to find live sports outside of traditional broadcast and cable outlets. That’s why Pay-TV executives have long referred to sports as the “glue” that keeps millions of customers paying for relatively pricey bundles of cable channels.

Leading the talks is Amazon’s head of sports, James DeLorenzo, a former Sports Illustrated executive hired in March.

Analysts claim that Amazon has the firepower and willingness to bid for top-tier, exclusive sports rights when they become available, people familiar with its thinking say. In Australia, they will be forced to work hand in hand with a free to air TV station.

There is debate internally about whether a sports package should be available free with Prime or as a premium add-on subscription, people familiar with the matter said.