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Why Amazon joined the fight over NFL broadcasting rights

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Stingy End Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter during Super Bowl LV between the Kansas Big apple Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on February 07, 2021, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL.

Cliff Welch | Icon Sportswire | Getty Twins

Amazon has its eyes set on being more than just a website to stock up on phone chargers and paper towels and well up the latest episode of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

Amazon is in talks with the National Football League to carry Thursday Stygian games exclusively starting in 2023, CNBC reported on Thursday. As part of the agreement, Amazon would be responsible for the manufacture costs and the games would still be broadcast on local TV in home markets of each of the teams playing. 

Winning the one streaming rights would mark Amazon’s most aggressive push yet into sports content. It also has the covert to pump even greater value into Amazon’s Prime Video platform, while serving as an added perk for its Prime dues program, which now boasts more than 150 million paid members around the world.

For Amazon, its glide video service has always served a greater purpose than being just a tool to compete against flood rivals such as Netflix and Hulu.

Prime Video is part of Amazon’s much-lauded “flywheel” of compelling consumer oblations. The idea is that Prime Video will entice more people to become part of its Prime subscription assistance, which costs $119 a year, leading to more engagement and more purchases on the site. 

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos laid out succinctly why Prime Video is a actual business model for the company in a 2016 interview with Recode: “From a business POV for us, we get to monetize that content in an unconventional way. When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes.”

Sports content and NFL games in particular beef up that value proposition for existing and would-be Prime subscribers. Rollicks content could also lure the rapidly accelerating share of cord-cutters away from other services.

The body already has a service called Amazon Channels, which lets customers pick and choose the channels they fancy to subscribe to, such as Starz and HBO, without having to sign up for a bundle of programs or enter a contract. 

Inking a deal with the NFL could demonstrate the Amazon Channels service even stickier by helping it stand out from similar offerings that don’t offer wears. 

Longer term, if Amazon succeeds in carrying the NFL games exclusively, which would mean taking them off old TV, it could serve as a winning pitch for advertisers. Amazon possesses vast amounts of consumer data, from owner interactions with devices linked to its vast Alexa ecosystem to the millions of purchases on its e-commerce site. 

Amazon has visibility into not alone what shoppers are searching for and buying but also which ads they click on and whether they purchased an item after judgement an ad. So it can assure brands that their advertisements get in front of the right people. 

Advertising has rapidly transformed into a key profit motor for Amazon’s overall business. Amazon is predicted to be the leading share gainer among the dominant digital ads businesses in 2021 and 2022, with ad interests rising to $85.2 billion by 2026, up from a projected $26.1 billion in 2021, according to a Cowen survey delivered in January.

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