Amazon secures tennis in first major live sports deal outside of US

Amazon will be the ‘Prime’ destination for tennis fans from 2018 when the current deal with Sky comes to end according to The Guardian. In its first sports move outside of the US – where it secured Thursday night NFL earlier in the year – all main tennis coverage aside from the four majors will be on the service.

The sports broadcast industry has been undergoing seismic change over the last year with Amazon and Twitter becoming major forces, and the likes of Sky shifting their own models to concentrate on certain sports and events. Tennis has been one that Sky has been happy to let go, walking away from this deal after Amazon bid up to £10m a year, up from the current £8m Sky pay. And they had already dropped US Open coverage in 2016 to cut their tennis coverage down.

In our next Digital Sport event, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at what is happening with sports broadcast and where it will lead. But it’s obvious to say that the market is fragmenting more and more as rights holders look to shake up the way their sports are being broadcast.

Recent news that the ECB are taking some coverage back to BBC, and that in golf the US PGA Championship expanding to include not only Twitter but also online publisher GiveMeSport, via their Facebook page. It is making people in the industry sit up and take notice. No-one quite knows where this will end up but rights holders are certainly holding ‘reach’ up there as a key metric, something that paywall coverage on the likes of Sky and ESPN cannot offer.

Football is the most influential sport to us here in the UK with the amount of money that changes hands for its coverage confirming so. But there are many other sports that the likes of Amazon can help transform with different types of coverage and engaging with new fans. It may well be that each league or event being carved up into different sections will be the norm and traditional media will sit alongside OTT and social media in the future.



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Daniel McLaren
Daniel McLaren 773 posts

Dan is the Founder & CEO of Digital Sport. Can be found at sports industry events and heard every week on the Digital Sport Insider podcast. @DanielMcLaren

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