Amazon is already the dominant force in American retail. Now, sports streaming could make it equally integral to the media landscape.
The tech giant has targeted the largest global audiences as it acquires broadcast rights: the NFL, soccer’s Premier League and Champions League, and the New York Yankees.
The company is believed to be in talks for rights to the Indian Premier League, a cricket league whose season opener last year drew more than twice the viewership of the 2021 Super Bowl.
Amazon’s core goal is to drive membership to Amazon Prime, its omnibus subscription that provides free shipping, savings on certain products, and access to other offerings, such as Amazon Prime Video.
It has also sought to customize the fan experience in unique ways, including an X-Ray feature that allows fans to find game and player data without using a second screen.
As both a broadcaster and a retailer, Amazon can make unique pitches to advertisers.
It can leverage customer data from those divisions and perhaps others, such as its ubiquitous cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services. AWS partners with the NFL, NHL, PGA Tour, NASCAR, and Bundesliga, among others.
With cord-cutting increasingly the norm, live sports is one of the last strongholds for traditional broadcasters. By edging its way into exclusive NFL broadcast rights, Amazon announced itself as a long-term threat to the business models of CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox.