As more TV consumers make the jump to streaming services or other cord-cutting solutions, sports remain one of the last big-ratings bastions for network TV and cable. Outfits like NBC and ESPN pay a lot of money for the rights to NFL and Major League Baseball games, and while individual leagues offer streaming access to their content via apps and subscription services, it’s a market that more traditional streamers like Netflix and Hulu haven’t been able to crack. (And which Netflix, for its part, has denied having any active interest in.)
But that isn’t stopping Amazon from trying, with Bloomberg reporting today on the online retailer’s ongoing efforts to build a streaming sports empire for itself. The company didn’t comment on the story, but talks are apparently in motion for the company to secure streaming rights to sports with “international appeal” for the Amazon Prime service. Tennis, soccer, and rugby are all apparently on the block, the better to draw in customers from the service’s 93 million-strong global user base. Meanwhile, Amazon recently hired Sports Illustrated’s James DeLorenzo to oversee its growing sports division, and YouTube’s Charlie Neiman to negotiate partnerships and rights.
Bloomberg also posits another tack the online giant might use, one built into Prime’s pre-existing structure. Like its competitor, Hulu, Amazon already offers add-on packages that allow customers to add content from premium networks like Showtime. It’s not impossible to think that Amazon might be able to hammer out a similar deal with subscriptions services like MLB.TV—outside the leagues’ ongoing business relationships with the major networks—suggesting a possible future where interested consumers can pay to be able to switch from episodes of Transparent or The Tick to a live baseball game at the drop of a hat.