Amazon Prime Video VP: We Want NBA Rights

Amazon Prime Video VP: We Want NBA Rights

Amazon Prime Video will present a matchup between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins this week on Friday, Nov. 24, marking the first “Black Friday Football” game in what is expected to become a tradition each year in the NFL. Last October, Amazon paid the NFL approximately $100 million for the exclusive rights to the matchup – adding to the nearly $1 billion per year the company pays for the rights to Thursday Night Football.

With the festivities set to commence on Friday, Amazon Prime Video is looking to expand the breadth of its live sports rights and recognizes the forthcoming opportunity to negotiate with the NBA. Jay Marine, Prime Video vice president and Amazon global head of sports, confirmed that the company has interest in the NBA. The company is interested in postseason action and may want to negotiate a deal that includes more than just domestic rights. 

While it may have interest, Amazon will not be able to negotiate with the Association until the conclusion of an exclusive 45-day negotiating window with The Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros. Discovery, which is set to begin on March 9, 2024. Marine made the remarks on The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, the latest edition of which will be posted on Wednesday.

The formal public declaration of interest places Amazon within a crowded field of potential bidders, which also includes Apple, Google, and Netflix. Aside from the existing rightsholders, NBC could reportedly look at reacquiring the league and implement streaming rights on Peacock, which it recently attained with its extension of Notre Dame football rights through 2029.

“What fits is that it is one of the biggest leagues in the world and people care about it,” Marine said. “At the end of the day, do Prime members care about it? Is it important to their life? And as a result, can it be meaningful in terms of the value it adds to Prime members and the Prime program. And I think with the NBA, it is true on all of those fronts.”

Amazon Prime Video currently has more than 200 million global subscribers, granting it sizable reach compared to linear broadcast companies through over-the-air and cable television. In addition to Thursday night NFL games, it produces various documentaries and broadcasts select WNBA and New York Yankees games. The company had previously introduced a daily programming slate of sports studio shows, but that recently shuttered its operations at the end of October.

“[The] economics have to work for us and the leagues, of course,” Marine said. “We don’t have to have everything. So I think you’ve seen that in our approach. We don’t have to fill hours on a linear schedule, and so we can really be selective. And we don’t need everybody, everything, even in a given property.”

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