Amazon could acquire even more streaming sports as part of its deal with Diamond Sports. Kevin D. Lyles—Atlanta Braves/Getty Images
Amazon is moving deeper into live sports streaming, signing a deal Wednesday that gives Prime Video subscribers access to MLB, NBA and NHL games.
The retailer is partnering with Diamond Sports as part of a restrictive agreement to help the local broadcaster emerge from bankruptcy. Diamond owns the broadcast rights to 11 Major League Baseball teams, 15 NBA teams, and 11 professional hockey teams. The deal still needs bankruptcy court approval.
The deal comes as live sports has become an increasingly valuable asset for streaming services. Apple spends a lot of money on Major League Soccer and MLB games, and Amazon currently has exclusive broadcast rights to Thursday Night Football. Just last week, NBCUniversal's Peacock became the exclusive broadcast home for the Kansas City Chiefs AFC Wild Card Game, for which the company reportedly paid $110 million.
That game on Peacock drew a total of 27.6 million viewers, setting an internet-wide record. According to the network, 30% of all Internet traffic during the game was consumed by Peacock, more than any other online event in history. These are certainly numbers that Amazon would envy.
Diamond, which filed for bankruptcy last March, said Prime Video will be its primary partner and subscribers will have access to its gaming content, including pre- and post-game coverage. Amazon Prime is already streaming some of the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets games produced by YES Network.
“This comprehensive package provides a detailed framework and significant new financing for Diamond's restructuring plan that will enable Diamond's operations and growth beyond 2024,” Diamond CEO David Preschlack said in a statement. I am very pleased that we have reached a realignment agreement.” “We are grateful for the support from Amazon and our largest group of creditors.”
However, some fans were upset about the NFL streaming exclusivity because they didn't want to pay for yet another service.
Streaming service Max last year announced plans to offer subscribers access to live sporting events for a limited time. Users who select the add-on His package in conjunction with Bleacher Report can watch it for free until February 29, 2024. After that, there will be an additional fee of $10 per month. The package includes his MLB, NHL games, NBA, NCAA Men's March Madness, US Soccer and more.
Live sports are considered can't-miss shows, drawing viewers to streaming services and potentially making them stick around.