Amazon never stops flexing its muscles. Aside from completely taking over the online retail space and getting deep into the grocery business, Amazon has been busy expanding its streaming libraries, even adding ways to watch sports online without cable like the NFL’s Thursday Night Football. This week, Amazon continues to make waves in the streaming sports world with the recent news that the internet services giant has bid on a package of 22 regional sports networks owned by Disney. Can Amazon become a leader in streaming sports?
The 22 regional sports networks Amazon has bid on were recently acquired by Disney from Twenty-First Century Fox. Those sports networks include the New York-based YES Network which airs Yankee baseball and Nets basketball among other NY offerings. In all, the YES Network broadcasts games from 44 different professional teams in MLB, NBA, and NHL.
Several other media conglomerates have also submitted bids, but Amazon’s bid has media analysts wondering if Amazon is “paving the way for the demise of traditional cable TV networks.” Amazon’s bid is particularly troublesome for media companies because sports have traditionally been the sole property of live broadcast media and cable. If top-tier prime time sports and even regional sports keep making the move to streaming, pay TV will have lost one of its last major bargaining chips to keep customers.
While I’m all for more streaming options when it comes to sports, the fact that Amazon is buying up so many sports rights should come of at least a small degree of concern. With their astronomical budget, Amazon could soon buy up a monopoly when it comes to sports streaming just like it has online retail. I love Amazon as much as the next Prime member, but we all know what happens when you put too many eggs in one media basket. Could Amazon Prime become the new cable? If they keep offering two-day shipping, will it matter that they’re the only place to stream sports?