Jeff Bezos Interested In Sport Rights?

According to a recent report by CNBC, Amazon has placed a first round bid on the 22 regional sports networks Disney will be selling. Included in this list of 22 is the well known network ESPN.

So what could this mean for other media providers? Amazon bidding on these sports networks means there is interest to get a piece of the media action which may result in a bidding war over the rights. Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch has confirmed that Fox is interested in re-acquiring the networks, however, sources say that Fox did not submit a first round bid for the rights.

What could sports rights mean for Amazon and current Amazon users? Amazon already has their own streaming service similar to Netflix called Prime Video accessible to Amazon Prime subscribers in which users can stream movies or TV shows. If Amazon is successful in acquiring the sports networking rights, they may look at incorporating this media into a service like Prime Video, or potentially creating another service like Amazon Live or Amazon Sports in which users could stream live games and sports, eliminating the need to pay for cable to view these programs. But would this work? An article by Helen Weeds by the name of “TV Wars: Exclusive Content and Competition In Pay TV” seems to agree with the idea by stating that “highly attractive ‘premium’ programming, especially live coverage of popular sports events and recent Hollywood movies, drives consumer choice”. This means that if Amazon stays on track by keeping Prime Video relevant and acquiring sports network rights, consumers are likely to switch providers.

Looking at this information it may seem like this deal could be beneficial for both sports media consumers as well as Amazon, but on a sociological level there can be downsides. One problem would come from Amazon having a monopoly over all of the 22 networks (Owner monopoly), which means they would then have the power to manipulate news and reports to benefit themselves rather than the consumers and athletes. It isn’t unreasonable to consider that Amazon wants these rights to further increase profits, but it’s this obsession with profits that can negatively influence consumers and athletes alike. With this in mind it is nearly impossible to give a black and white answer of the potential outcome, so all we can do is wait and see how it all works out.

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