In Depth

Amazon takes Sky tennis rights – is the Premier League next?

Move could be a 'game changer' for sports rights as digital companies join a competitive market

Amazon has thrown its hat into the ring as a sports broadcaster after securing the rights to the ATP World Tour tennis coverage from Sky Sports.

The company has reportedly agreed a £10m a year deal to show elite men's tennis from 2019, outbidding Sky, which has held the rights since 1990, in the process.

"Viewers will now require a subscription to Amazon Prime, an online video streaming service, to watch the majority of top-flight men's tennis outside the four grand-slam events, such as tournaments in Miami, Monte Carlo and Rome," says The Times.

"The move by Amazon is regarded by industry insiders as a game-changer in the battle for sports rights in the UK, with digital companies now entering the fray alongside the more traditional broadcasters. Amazon has a deal with the NFL to show ten matches in the United States, but this is its first major live television deal elsewhere in the world."

The deal could be a significant one, agrees The Guardian. "Amazon's move is its first major live TV sports rights deal outside the US and potentially signals that an already competitive market could be about to heat up further," says the paper.

This could open up a new battlefront, "pitching deep-pocketed digital players against broadcasters".

Looking ahead the paper adds: "Sky and BT are preparing to go to battle to renew their £5.14bn Premier League rights early next year, with both companies hoping for an end to rampant rights price inflation."

Sky's decision not to defend its tennis contract may be connected to those negotiations, says the Daily Telegraph. It says the broadcaster has been "haemorrhaging... secondary sports rights ahead of the upcoming Premier League auction".

The move could also "spark speculation" that Amazon could really shake things up by joining the Premier League fight, "although it remains to be seen whether that would fit its global business model".

Sky Sports rebranded its channels and "announced a heavy fall in profits" last week, says the paper. In addition to the tennis, the broadcaster "recently ended its 25-year coverage of golf's US PGA Championship, the rights for which were picked up by the BBC, and is in danger of losing the rights to the Masters to BT Sport".

Recommended

Verstappen or Hamilton: F1 title permutations
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
In Focus

Verstappen or Hamilton: F1 title permutations

UK’s updated Covid travel rules explained
Covid-19 test centre at Heathrow Terminal 5
Getting to grips with . . .

UK’s updated Covid travel rules explained

New TV crime dramas to watch in 2021
Olivia Colman and David Thewlis star in Landscapers
In Depth

New TV crime dramas to watch in 2021

Book of the week: The Contrarian by Max Chafkin
Mike Pence, Donald Trump and Peter Thiel
In Review

Book of the week: The Contrarian by Max Chafkin

Popular articles

Is Boris Johnson’s authority ‘evaporating’?
Boris Johnson
Behind the scenes

Is Boris Johnson’s authority ‘evaporating’?

Is World War Three looming?
Xi Jinping
In Depth

Is World War Three looming?

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life
Vladimir Putin and his now ex-wife Lyudmila Putina
Profile

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life

The Week Footer Banner