Amazon acquires US Open UK rights

Amazon has acquired the UK broadcast rights to the US Open in a five-year deal.

The news comes on the back of the company securing a five-year agreement to broadcast matches from the ATP World Tour beginning in 2018 and makes Amazon, which includes the BBC iPlayer and Eurosport Player on its service, the only UK platfrom to watch all four grand slams from next year.

Amazon’s deal for the US Open will run until 2022 and is worth around £30 million.

Sky had broadcast the US Open in the UK for the last 25 years but decided to drop the tournament – and subsequently, the sport in general – in order to focus on retaining the rights to the Premier League.

According to Clive Malcher, SVP Commercial, Broadcast & Media at Piksel, Amazon’s move underlines the disruption that tech giants are causing in a market traditionally dominated by broadcasters, following the recent move by Facebook to acquire rights to the Super Bowl final for its ‘Watch’ offering and Amazon also outbidding Sky for ATP tennis rights. “Sports events have clearly been identified as a must-have to draw consumers to new platforms, with the goal of boosting subscriber numbers and reaching new audiences that can be targeted with other offers,” he added.

“Original content – a differentiator that was relied upon as the likes of Netflix and Amazon grew – is no longer enough in this escalating race to secure the attention of consumers. Further competition for sports rights can be expected in coming years, with the deep pockets of tech companies looking to build streaming platforms a concern for traditional broadcasters. With Premier League rights up for grabs in 2018 it will be very interesting to see how non-traditional broadcasters try to get in on the action and capture a wider market share.”

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