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Amazon’s Wide World of Sports

In the last few years, Amazon not only acquired the rights to Thursday Night Football, it also made major sports rights acquisitions in almost a dozen other countries, including the U.K., Brazil, and Australia.
In the last few years, Amazon not only acquired the rights to Thursday Night Football, it also made major sports rights acquisitions in almost a dozen other countries, including the U.K., Brazil, and Australia. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images
Julia Alexander
January 2, 2024

We’ve long ago discarded the notion that live sports has no place in streaming. Apple gobbled up all MLS and limited MLB rights. Peacock and Paramount+ rely on their linear NFL deals to prop up their streamers. Warner Bros. Discovery is trying to turn Max into a live sports hub using its Bleacher Report shingle. Google’s YouTube TV acquired NFL Sunday Ticket rights. And, of course, Bob Iger and Jimmy Pitaro are on the long, slow, uncertain journey to launch ESPN as its own OTT service, whenever that happens. Netflix, for its part, says it’s content to merely broadcast live sports–adjacent series like Full Swing and F1: Drive to Survive, but let’s see how long that remains the case.

And then there’s Amazon, whose sports ambitions are led by Jay Marine and Marie Donoghue. Over the last few years, Amazon not only acquired Thursday Night Football (overall ratings are down from when games aired on broadcast networks like Fox, but viewership in the 18-49 demo was up double digits in 2023, despite some dull games), it also made major sports rights acquisitions in almost a dozen countries, including the U.K., Brazil, and Australia. High-profile tournaments ranging from the UEFA Champions League to the French Open and Copa do Brasil have netted Amazon important viewership and attention in those markets.