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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Amazon Nears NBA Rights Deal, Eyes Sweep of U.S. Sports Leagues

  • The online retail and streaming giant picks up NHL content to join its presence in the NFL and MLB.
  • The company is also firmly on the hunt for domestic rights for the NBA.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

After picking up two separate pieces of NHL media rights, Amazon is inching closer to a highly rare sweep of the four major men’s U.S. pro sports leagues. 

The online retail and streaming giant has completed a two-year pact with the NHL to stream games on Mondays in Canada, starting with the 2024–25 season, creating a new Prime Monday Night Hockey showcase. Amazon has also struck an additional deal with the Kraken for regional rights to show the NHL team’s games on Prime Video to fans in Washington state, Oregon, and Alaska. 

The company, meanwhile, is separately closing in on a landmark deal to acquire a portion of the NBA’s national rights, according to The Athletic

The hockey pacts add to Amazon’s existing, long-term rights with the NFL for Thursday Night Football and a regional streaming pact with MLB’s Yankees for 21 games this season. Amazon also has a deal with Diamond Sports Group that—if the regional sports network operator’s reorganization bid is approved—will provide bankruptcy exit financing in exchange for an equity stake and a much broader set of regional broadcast rights. 

Exclusive Company

Amazon’s active pursuit of domestic streaming rights to the NBA builds on what the company already does with the league in Brazil. If the latest basketball pursuit is successful, Amazon would have a set of U.S. rights relationships among the most popular American sports properties only rivaled by ESPN. The Disney-owned network currently has national-level domestic rights to the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL. 

By comparison, what Amazon is potentially stitching together is an amalgam of national and regional rights. But every other broadcast network and streamer is missing out entirely on one or more of those major leagues in their respective rights portfolios. 

Amazon is scheduled to have its 2024 upfront presentation to advertisers May 14, and its fast-growing sports programming slate is expected to be a central component of that event. 

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