Amazon Developing Standalone Sports Streaming App: Report

Amazon — which has been investing billions in pumping up Prime Video and live sports content while slashing costs elsewhere — is working on a standalone sports app.

That’s according to The Information, which cites a source with direct knowledge of Amazon’s planning and deliberations.

Amazon has not responded to the report, and it remains unclear when, or whether, the company will actually launch such an app.

Amazon’s investments in live sports streaming to date have included a precedent-setting 11-year, $1.2 billion-per-season deal with the NFL for streaming “Thursday Night Football” (TNF), securing UEFA Champions League and Premier League soccer streaming rights in the U.K., a multiyear NBA streaming partnership in Brazil, and a Women’s NBA deal for 16 games per season.

The sports content and “TNF” in particular — available at no additional charge to Amazon Prime members and standalone Prime Video subscribers — has helped drive record subscription signups for Prime Video, which recently surpassed Netflix’s total in the U.S., according to Parks Associates.

But given the expense of securing sports streaming rights, and the increasingly challenging economic scenario for tech companies and streaming services, it would seem logical for Amazon to develop more ways to realize revenue from its sports investments.

That could conceivably come through a separate sports tier with its own fee, instead of or in addition to a separate app with its own subscription charge.

In November, Amazon CEO Andy Jazzy not only noted sports’ unique ability to drive live engagement and Prime subscriptions; he said that Prime Video itself could eventually be spun off as a standalone Amazon-owned business. (Perhaps not coincidentally, Amazon recently has been taking pains to refer to the service as Prime Video rather than Amazon Prime Video.)   

November also marked the start of layoffs that could reportedly total about 10,000, or 3% of Amazon’s workforce. Divisions said to be among the most affected include devices, retail, HR and the Luna cloud gaming service.


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