Following its success taking over the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package, Prime Video is openly pursuing NBA broadcast rights.
The move would be the NBA’s first foray into streaming-exclusive broadcasts. But Amazon believes the global appeal of pro basketball combined with the volume of games makes those rights valuable for Prime Video. The streamer’s global vice president Jay Marine said that in an interview released Wednesday.
“The NBA is an incredible property,” Marine told the Marchand & Ourand Sports Media Podcast. “They’ve built a fanbase that is worldwide, it’s a very global game. And a very young fanbase.”
Why is Amazon so interested in doing an NBA deal? Jay Marine explains.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) November 22, 2023
Amazon will broadcast its first Black Friday NFL game this week. Prime Video wants any sports broadcast rights it pursues to be in service of its overall Prime membership package.
“Any broadcaster would be excited to be a part of the NBA,” Marine added. “For Amazon specifically, what fits is it is one of the biggest leagues in the world and people care about it. At the end of the day, do Prime members care about it, is it important to their life, and as a result can it be meaningful in terms of the value it ends to Prime members and the Prime program? And I think NBA is true on all of those fronts.”
Marine added that Amazon would pursue NBA postseason games in its bid, and could look to get involved in local broadcasts as well (with the NBA’s teams currently with Diamond Sports/Bally Sports set to regain those rights after the current season).
“The reality is OTT delivery has to be part of (local offerings) to make it available for everyone,” Marine said. “I think that’s the direction it’s going, and I think we can be a valuable part of that … because of our large customer reach.”
He added: “I would love to be involved to try to help solve that local transition in some way.”
Prime Video broadcasts Seattle Storm games as the “local” broadcast partner. It also features an add-on channel for NBA League Pass.
While the NBA may not take the bold step of moving playoff games to a streamer right away, the recently created play-in tournament makes sense for Prime Video as a streaming exclusive in the meantime. Prime Video already broadcasts the WNBA’s in-season tournament final.
As more on-record interest comes from Amazon toward NBA rights, some form of broadcast deal between the two companies is starting to feel inevitable.