Sports rights are no longer the preserve of TV broadcasters, as new players tap into this market as a way of attracting and engaging consumers, but some are finding the process more straightforward than others.

For example, Amazon Prime, the subscription arm of the e-commerce giant, can boast tennis, American football and soccer from the Bundesliga in Germany. And next year it will show 20 English Premier League games across two specific December dates, including the Boxing Day fixtures.

At the recent Leaders Sport Business Summit in London, Alex Green, Amazon Prime Video European Managing Director, explained that many consumers are expected to sign up for a free 30-day trial to watch the Boxing Day games and that will bring a huge surge of new customers during the busiest shopping time of year.

While some may cancel after the free month, Amazon believes many will enjoy the experience and become long-term Prime subscribers. (For more, read WARC’s report: Amazon Prime: using sports streaming to attract and engage.)

But Green also admitted that the Amazon Prime sporting experience hasn’t always been as smooth as it would have liked. Viewers of its coverage of the US Tennis Open, for example, complained about the picture quality and the lack of a facility to record matches. And Amazon has also encountered problems in raising awareness among its users about how to access live coverage.

Facebook, meanwhile, believes it can “bring fans together” and help them experience sport “in a better way”, according to Peter Hutton, its Director of Global Live Sports Partnerships and Programming.

Speaking at the same event, he acknowledged that the transition from watching on traditional TV to watching online “is not always easy”, but argued that by working with broadcasters the social media giant can make that transition smoother for viewers. (For more, read WARC’s report: Facebook: the future of streaming sports is on social.)

And it can also bring new fans: a partnership with Major League Baseball in the US saw games produced exclusively for Facebook Watch, with interactive elements such as the option for viewers to ask coaches and players questions during the live games.

“These social-first broadcasts appealed to the next generation of baseball fans,” Hutton reported. “The average age of viewers on those broadcasts was 20 years younger than the MLB’s average television audience.”

Sourced from WARC