NFL rumours hint that Amazon want to be more than a Premier League broadcaster

Last week, it was reported that Amazon (among others) might be considered as a replacement for Ticketmaster as the NFL’s ticketing platform.

Any deal would see the purveyors of Thursday Night Football in the US become ticket distributors for the league, too, meaning Amazon would have a two-way association with the NFL.

Whilst any news story of this kind – given it’s still just speculation and we’re not yet dealing with anything concrete – should be taken with a pinch of salt, the subject matter is certainly very interesting. Because although Amazon distributing tickets for the NFL isn’t, in itself, an Earth-shattering thought, the fact that the company is willing to be both a logistics partner in terms of tickets and also a broadcasting partner feels like the next piece of the puzzle for the retailer-turned-broadcaster.

“There’s a reason it was Amazon that secured the Premier League goodies instead of pure-play OTT providers like Netflix, DAZN or Eleven Sports. For the latter, as wholly subscriber-funded operators, there was no way to make the sums involved stack up. But, unlike those companies or the purely advertising funded social media platforms, Amazon is essentially a retailer with a media product on the side; Amazon has a lot of other stuff to upsell via its live footy.” – Romily Broad

Take its recent deal with the Premier League as an example.

On these very pages just a few days ago, Romily Broad argued that EFL clubs need to start thinking more like the retail giant in the wake of the deal. The crux of his argument was that because Amazon doesn’t make most of its money from its video content offering, it is able to use live sport as a means to bring people to its platform and sell them more stuff there.

“Its first block of games will be the first round of midweek fixtures in early December,” wrote Broad. “That’s a few days after Black Friday and the commencement of Christmas shopping season. The second block will be all ten games on Boxing Day – the day the sales start.”

Put like that, you can see what Amazon is getting in the short term. Interestingly though, we might be able to see what they’re looking to get in the longer term from this NFL news: a relationship with one of the most popular sports in the world which goes beyond mere broadcasting rights, but reaches into ticketing and then maybe merchandising as well. Amazon doesn’t have to prove anything when it comes to logistics, but doing a deal with some of the world’s best loved sports leagues gets them a foot in the door.

We’ve seen over the years that this is the same practice as the big subscription-based sports broadcasters. Sky and BT look to sell broadband, phone and TV packages to subscribers and they add live sport to the mix to make it more appealing. Amazon are, in a sense, doing the same thing. It’s just that they aren’t providing broadband (at least not yet…), but a whole range of products that might be attractive to a league with an international outlook – because then they’ll have a simple and trustworthy means of distributing tickets and merchandising to fans around the world.

Amazon’s recent movements obviously point to a company that wants to get more involved with sport, but you can bet that’s not just because they think live Premier League or NFL games would look good on Prime.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 751 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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