Amazon’s Global Head of Sports, Jay Marine, has confirmed the company’s interest in acquiring broadcasting rights for NBA playoff games.
Marine spoke on a recent edition of the Marchand and Ourand Sports Media podcast that Amazon identified the NBA’s large young demographic and ever-increasing international audience as valuable commodities in obtaining future rights for playoff games.
He said: “(The NBA) is one of the biggest leagues in the world and people care about it. 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 programme? And I think with the NBA, it is true on all of those fronts.”
Amazon’s interest in acquiring a share of broadcast rights for the NBA has been reportedly long-standing as the basketball league prepares for its upcoming broadcast rights deal next year.
The NBA has also shown a liking to Amazon’s live sports broadcasting recently too. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver praised the tech giant’s coverage of NFL Thursday Night Football (TNF) on Prime Video.
Silver previously admitted he was “fascinated” with the streaming platform’s work with the NFL on TNF as the NBA has been hinting at opening its arms to major streaming platforms to enter negotiations.
However, Marine specifically emphasised the importance of NBA playoff games and not necessarily regular season games. The value of NFL regular season games and NBA regular season games differ massively, as the NFL holds 17 per team per year, whilst the NBA has 82 games per season per team.
“The (NBA) is different because of the game volume. For us, would playoffs be an important part of (any bid)? Yes, that’s fair to say,” said Marine.
With an increasing number of major streaming platforms ramping up their efforts entering or planning to enter the live sports streaming space – Apple TV, Netflix, Prime Video, etc. – the Amazon exec admitted that they are not in a rush to buy rights for anything and everything.
Whilst the interest in the NBA remains firm, the worst kept secret in the broadcast and streaming sector is Netflix’s eventual introduction in acquiring live sports broadcast rights, having recently signalled reported interest in the newly launched NBA In-Season Tournament.
A report by CNBC in October revealed that Sarandos’ live sports stance is “softening” and that such a move to obtain NBA broadcast rights as “industry-shaking”.
With a flurry of streaming services expected to make bids on live sports over the next several years, as well as cable TV networks looking to retain valuable rights deals, Marine stated that Amazon can be “selective” in what they can offer viewers on Prime Video.
He said: “We don’t need to have everything, we can be selective. But we want things to be meaningful and big enough, so we go for the largest tier one properties out there.”