Streaming platforms and tech companies are emerging as big players in sports business — estimated to be worth about $ 388 billion in 2020 — globally. And, India is no exception.
After having snagged late 2020 the India territory broadcast rights for New Zealand cricket through 2025-26, media reports indicate that Amazon has emerged as the frontrunner to buy a minority stake in the United States’ NFL’s media properties.
The tech giant is in talks with America’s richest sports league, NFL, for acquiring up to a 49 percent stake in NFL Network, RedZone and NFL.com. The $10 billion league hired Goldman Sachs Group in June to negotiate a deal to sell a chunk of NFL Media, according to a report in Front Office Sports that quoted unnamed sources.
Frontofficesports.com on its website claims to be a media brand covering the multi-billion dollar business of sports with accessible news and actionable insights.
The report added that some last-minute snag could push a final agreement back by several months, but if it goes through it would mark a “large jump in the growing business relationship between Amazon and the NFL”.
Starting in 2022, Amazon Prime Video will become the first streaming service to control an exclusive package of NFL games, paying $1 billion a year for the rights to “Thursday Night Football”, the report added.
The American football league’s Next Gen Stats have relied on Amazon Web Services since 2015.
The India , while speaking at MPA-organised APOS India conference on Tuesday, Amazon Prime Video India head Gaurav Gandhi also alluded to the company’s big play in the sports arena in India and globally.
“We made our start with New Zealand cricket rights…Globally we are doing a lot of sports,” he told moderator, MPA executive Director Vivek Couto, adding, “Cricket and few other big properties have a huge appeal, and we will evaluate all of that.”
According to Gandhi, APV’s sports offerings are not restricted to just live sports, but encompass sports shows and films too. Prime Video, he said, has sports films like one on soccer legend Maradonna and they had done some factual shows with sports like kabaddi.
“When we look at sports, we have a holistic view on it. We already have sports programming on the platform. Sports can come on Prime Video in different ways… (but) we don’t want to feel compelled (about sports rights),” he explained, adding that the portfolio offerings were quite substantial anyway.
Pointing out that the company is doing “interesting things with partners” globally, Gandhi said, “If we do (live sports broadcast), it can come from the marketplace or any other manner and form as we do in so many parts of the world. We feel good about it that there is an opportunity in the next few years to get into sports and so many rights are opening up. But we will evaluate these as we go along.”
In its opening presentation, MPA had said that tech companies and telcos like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Jio would play crucial parts in determining the value of various sporting rights in India that are coming up for renewal, including India cricket and IPL.