Amazon ‘exploring’ live sports offering

Amazon Prime Instant VideoAmazon is weighing up plans to break into the world of live sports streaming, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

According to the Journal, citing unnamed sources, the e-retailer has been in talks with US sports organisations including the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Football League for rights to air live games.

According to the report, Amazon has raised the possibility of creating exclusive premium sports packages as part of the Amazon Prime offering, including with the NBA.

The Journal also reported that Amazon has approached US TV networks about securing rights that are not being used by traditional broadcasters. Examples include Mexican soccer, for which US Hispanic network Univision has the rights but which remains unaired by the broadcaster.

According to the report, Amazon has also been looking to secure international rights, including an international offering of NBA games.

Amazon hired James DeLorenzo, formerly with Sports Illustrated, to head up its sports activities earlier this year, along with former DISH Network executive Sunil Dave, another hire with experience in negotiating sports rights.

Amazon’s possible move into live sports comes as Disney’s ESPN is moving ahead with its own plans for a live streaming service. Disney CEO Bob Iger told a Goldman Sachs conference in September that the offering could provide multiple options for subscribers to sign up for monthly or year-long passes as well as passes for specific events, and that it would make a much wider range of sports content available than is the case on broadcast TV.

Internationally, Discovery is also moving forward with plans of its own to develop live sports online. Discovery has teamed up with MLB-backed technology outfit BAMTech – in which Disney has taken a US$1 billion stake – to create a new European JV to provide a streaming platform for content owners, including its own Eurosport outfit.