Amazon Is “Dipping Its Toe In The Water” Of Sports Rights, Co-TV Chief Albert Cheng Says At TCA

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Amazon is “dipping its toe in the water” of live sports rights. That’s how Albert Cheng, Co-Head of TV at Amazon Studios, described its moves into the live hustle-and-bustle of some of the world’s most popular sports including NFL, soccer and tennis.

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Amazon aired Thursday Night Football last year and bought the rights to 20 matches per season in the English Premier League from 2019-22, while also airing the U.S. Open tennis tournament in the UK.

The SVOD service reportedly also has been interested in buying 22 regional sports networks from Fox, which has to sell ahead of its acquisition by Disney.

“With sports, we’re obviously in it and experimenting and we’re trying to understand how our customers are responding to it,” Cheng said. “What we have seen so far is good responses. For the most part, we’re dipping our toe in the water.”

The next two years are likely to be a pivotal window for digital platforms in securing major sports rights – particularly 2021, when the NFL, MLB and NHL media rights deals mostly end.

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