Amazon seals UK and Ireland rights to US Open tennis
Amazon are becoming known not just for their interest in live sport, but they are fast becoming known as the home of live tennis, too.
The streaming giant has already been successful in its attempts to lure more live action to its platform over the last few months and years. Perhaps the big ticket item was some of last year’s NFL games, but in the UK and Ireland, Amazon have rights to ATP tour events and late last week announced that they had picked up the exclusive rights to the US Open tennis.
A grand slam to add to the everyday coverage is clearly a logical next step, but it does send a signal that the company is a serious player in the live sports rights market.
In a sense, though, there isn’t too much competition for tennis rights. Last year’s reshuffle at Sky Sports saw the broadcaster create dedicated channels for Formula 1, golf, cricket and football as tennis was lumped into the Sky Sports Arena channel with a host of other sports. Indeed, until this year, it was Eurosport who owned the rights to the US Open and who had a sub-licensing deal with Sky. The WTA tour, meanwhile, is on BT Sport, fragmenting the landscape even further and maybe showing that few of the UK’s big broadcasters see tennis as such a big draw – Wimbledon excepted.
On the other hand, exclusive live rights to a grand slam is no small thing, and it’s another boost for those paid-up members of the Amazon Prime streaming service who will be able to see the tournament at no extra cost – on top of all of the other tennis grand slams, too, thanks to Amazon’s own deal with Eurosport.
Every week there seems to be a new development in the media rights landscape in sport, and that always seems to include a new player in the market.
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