Amazon and Twitter are employing different strategies in how they stream sports. According to a Bloomberg report Twitter is focusing on smaller sports which enjoy a relatively viewership and this includes the NLL – National Lacrosse League. Amazon, on the other hand, is focusing on bigger sports such as tennis and the National Football League.
Each of the strategies employed by the two companies make sense. In the case of Twitter, the microblogging platform is strategically positioning itself as a platform that caters to niche sports. National television contracts for baseball and football, for instance, cost billions of dollars while leagues such as the NLL often require no rights fees.
Sometimes these smaller leagues even have to pay for their sports events to be broadcast. Last year the National Lacrosse League playoffs saw 4,000 viewers tune in on ESPN. But getting rights to stream the NLL has value for Twitter as it gets audiences of passionate fans. The NLL has benefitted too as so far this year it has managed 344,000 viewers on the microblogging platform.
The U.S. National Women’s Hockey League has also partnered with Twitter with a view to streaming 19 games in the course of the current season. The women’s hockey league made a debut two years ago and this is the second partnership Twitter has signed to stream women’s sports events. Previously the NWHL performed poorly on other streaming platforms and it is hoping it will perform better on Twitter. During this year’s All Star Game which streamed on YouTube for instance, the NWHL got 6,000 views.
Unlike Twitter, Amazon’s strategy seems to be attracting sports events that have a global appeal. This is because of the online retail giant’s sprawling international presence. Some of the deals Amazon has recently signed include streaming ten Thursday night National Football League games. Amazon acquired these rights at a price of $50 million. The Seattle, Washington-based online retailer also agreed to pay an annual fee of approximately $13 million for the ATP World Tour’s exclusive UK rights.
Reports also indicate that Amazon and Twitter might enter rights discussion talks with the English Premier League for the 2019/2020 season. According to the chief executive officer of the EPL, Richard Scudamore, the richest soccer league in the world is considering forming partnerships with digital platforms who will live-stream games.
“We envisage anybody, really, being able to come along and bid for those rights. We would need some distribution criteria and to make sure it was readily available across platforms…,” said Scudamore in an interview with the Times.