Adding to its reach into television sports, Amazon has acquired the global rights to stream 16 WNBA regular season games per season on Amazon Prime Video.
The multi-year deal also includes the Commission’s Cup Championship game, the culmination of a 10-game in season competition that will be held Aug. 12.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Traditional TV viewing has been shrinking in part as viewers move to streaming. First, scripted programming began appearing on streaming services including Amazon Prime Video. Now sports, seen as a key pillar for the pay-TV business, are migrating to streaming.
Earlier this year, Amazon made a deal with the powerful National Football League for exclusive rights to the Thursday Night Football package currently broadcast by Fox. It made a deal with Fox to move up the start of its exclusive telecasts to the 2022 season.
Amazon also has deals to stream soccer and tennis matches in different countries around the world.
“The WNBA is one of the premier professional sports leagues in the world and serves as an inspiration to millions of young and aspiring athletes everywhere,” said Marie Donoghue, VP of global sports video at Amazon. “I am delighted we are bringing these outstanding athletes and games to Prime Video.”
The first WNBA game on Amazon will tip off May 29, with the Atlanta Dream playing the New York Liberty. Amazon will air one game each week during the regular season. Nine of the games will be part of the Commissioner’s Cup.
“Innovative competitions require exceptional partners, and we’re thrilled that Amazon will be streaming a WNBA game of the week and our inaugural Commissioner’s Cup Championship this year,” said WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “We’re grateful for Amazon’s support in increasing visibility and expanding access to our fans to more games on more devices, and we’re honored to be the first professional basketball league streamed on Prime Video as part of a Prime membership.”
The WNBA on Prime Video will be available across hundreds of compatible devices worldwide as part of a Prime membership excluding China, Japan, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Finland, and Germany.
Prime Video games will be distributed in the participating teams’ markets through the teams’ local distribution partners.
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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