Amazon mulls standalone sports streaming app - report

Amazon could potentially release a standalone sports streaming app in the future, a Wednesday report from The Information suggests.

It’s unclear when such an app would roll out (or whether Amazon will release it at all), a source with direct knowledge of the plan told the publication. But the move comes as Amazon doubles down on sports streaming ambitions while cutting costs in other areas of its business.

Amazon in November began laying off employees across multiple divisions and is reportedly aiming to eliminate about 10,000 jobs. The cost-cutting measure falls in line with other media companies that have disclosed layoff plans in the past month, such as CNN, Roku and AMC Networks.

The Information added the plan for a separate app suggests Amazon could be considering other ways of generating revenue from its sports streaming deals, which so far have been included in the standard Prime membership.

Notably, Amazon this fall began streaming the NFL’s Thursday Night Football, as part of an 11-year deal averaging over $1.2 billion per season. TNF received a hearty reception thus far on the platform, averaging 10.8 million viewers in its first five games on Prime Video, according to Nielsen. Additionally, the TNF opener on September 15 helped drive record Prime membership signups.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has highlighted the value of Prime Video’s offering. Speaking at the New York Times DealBook Summit in November, Jassy said he thinks over time Amazon potentially has “opportunities to make our Prime Video business a standalone business.”

Prime Video usage has surged in the domestic streaming market, with the service this year overtaking Netflix as the most subscribed-to streaming service in the U.S. Jassy at the conference also noted Amazon will likely continue to invest in sports content.

“Sports is such a unique asset. If you look every year at the most watched programs, sports often occupies 75% of those spots,” he said. “And they drive live engagement and they drive Prime subscriptions. So, I think you’ll just expect to see sports.”

Aside from Thursday Night Football, Amazon has U.K. streaming rights for UEFA Champions League as well as Premier League soccer matches. In Brazil, it recently secured a multi-year partnership with the NBA to stream 87 live matches on Prime Video during the 2022-23 season.

In the coming years, Amazon could make a push to bid for a domestic NBA sports package, according to a Front Office Sports report from October. Sources told the outlet the league will likely seek $50 billion to $75 billion for its next multi-year package. Amazon already has a deal in place with the Women’s National Basketball Association to stream 16 WNBA games on Prime Video per season.