Legacy networks like CBS, NBC, and Fox have long feared the incursion of cash-rich tech giants into sports broadcasting. The future is now, thanks to Amazon.
“They scare me,” said one TV executive who declined to be named.
In its latest move, Amazon will stream 21 New York Yankees games on Prime Video this season throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Amazon became a part-owner of the team’s YES cable network in 2019 but never televised any games due to the pandemic in 2020.
The first streamed game will be Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays on April 18.
Coming on the heels of Amazon’s landmark deal with the NFL for “Thursday Night Football,” this deal set off alarm bells among traditional companies that control live sports rights. Tech giants like Facebook have moved slowly into sports, but Amazon went straight for the biggest brands.
With over 142 million Prime members, Amazon’s reach into U.S. households rivals broadcasters like ABC. Figure in an annual revenue of $386 billion, and Amazon shapes up to be an intimidating new competitor for live game rights.
As Amazon moves further into sports broadcasts, the company is expected to hire its own anchors, analysts, reporters, and directors rather than outsourcing production.