Amazon executives predict that sports streaming will continue to grow, and the company has plans for a massive streaming event.
- Amazon’s VP of Global Sports Video Marie Donoghue expects that streaming will become the most popular option for fans and advertisers in the next few years.
- “By 2026, 136 million fans will be streaming sports,” she says. “It’s the present and it’s the future. It’s a great opportunity to bring great content, convenience and value to fans, and for advertisers to interact and engage. Viewers are younger, more affluent and spend a lot more time with the game. A lot of our audience wasn’t even watching NFL on other services.”
- During a Cannes Lions event, Donoghue explained how the company plans to grow by focusing on the fan and expanding its membership by linking Black Friday to sports—creating a new sports holiday event.
Why it’s news
Consumers have been shifting away from live television and focusing on streaming services, but sports remains one of the few categories of television that fans prefer to watch live. However, streaming services are looking to change that.
Amazon has been branching into the sports-streaming world with its launch of Thursday Night Football, which it launched last year. The program has been a successful move for the company, and now Donogue says they are planning to expand, Deadline reports.
“We didn’t want to be different for the sake of being different. We needed to create a broadcast that worked. [That’s] not always easy on streaming, you needed to find it easily. Then we added alternate broadcasts and prime vision with data overlays. But it’s all about the fan,” she says.
The company plans to further tap into the market by attempting to make a sports holiday akin to the Super Bowl. Amazon plans to tie the event to Black Friday—one of the biggest shopping days of the year in the U.S.
Other speakers at Cannes Lions were enthusiastic about growing the sports-streaming market. NBA Head of International Content Partnerships Matt Brabants says, “For us it’s all about accessibility, innovation and customization. We have a global brand, we have fans all around the world accessing content in time zones and on different devices. What can provide the most accessibility possible?”
The NBA plans to launch its streaming services in Brazil later this year. Brabants also says that the sports league plans to expand its current offerings on streaming services. Streaming services would give the NBA options to make streamed content and advertisements more personal for the viewer.
“Trying to link sporting stories to commercial opportunities around advertisers is something Prime Video has helped us tap into in Brazil, which was previously a lot harder with media companies,” he explains. “We can add scale, and provide ads for individual viewers. These are the types of technological innovation that is not just going to make the broadcast more interesting, but also more commercially relevant.”
Amazon and the NBA are far from the only ones to see value in focusing on sports streaming. Some sports legends like Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez have left legacy media for streaming services where they work as pundits.
“The biggest fear is, this is not normally how I watch the game. But you have all these different options: you can see the play-calls, so if you’re a hardcore fan, you can see the plays, how fast the players are running, automatic replay, different angles. It takes your viewing experience to a whole new level,” Gonzalez says. “I nerded out when I saw it. I would have loved to have had this growing up.”