Anyone for tennis? Amazon poised to exit the court

Media reports are circulating that Amazon Prime has decided to pull out of the UK live tennis rights market, five years after it shook up the status quo. Several national newspapers are suggesting that Amazon chiefs have decided not to bid for ATP and WTA rights in the UK, leaving the way clear for a Sky Sports bid. There are parallel reports that Amazon has already lost out on US Tennis Open rights to Sky.

The news will come as a disappointment to tennis fans, which have generally responded favourably to Amazon’s tennis coverage since it entered the space in 2018. By combining its ATP/WTA rights package with the US Open, Amazon has been providing a comprehensive tennis services to UK fans for £9 a month.

One possible explanation for Amazon’s decision, counter-intuitively, is that British tennis is currently on a high thanks to players like Emma Raducanu and Cameron Norrie. While Amazon has deep pockets (note drama series The Rings Of Power), it tends to be careful about getting involved in sports rights bidding wars. It is possible that the ATP/WTA rights in question will be more expensive this time round – and no longer fit Amazon’s parameters. The decision to walk away may also have been made easier if it transpires that Sky Sports has indeed won the US Open rights.

Of course, another possibility is that Amazon is turning its attention elsewhere. With its investment decisions heavily influenced by data-based analysis, it may have already decided that there is another sport that suits its ambitions better.

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