Roland-Garros, Champions League and NFL … Amazon is also betting on sport


“Roland-Garros will contribute to the increase of our subscribers, it is one of our important pieces this year. Across the screen, Alex Green rehearses a cleverly modeled speech. In recent days, the sports director of Prime Video Europe has been doing video interviews with the French media. Amazon arrives on the French sports broadcasting rights market via the Parisian tennis tournament, and intends to make it known, between an ephemeral court to welcome personalities at the Tuileries gardens and a promotional clip bringing together the DJ Martin Solveig and the winner of the 2015 edition, the Swiss Stan Wawrinka.

Two years ago, the e-commerce giant created a surprise by winning, alongside France Télévisions, part of the broadcasting rights for the tricolor lifting of the Grand Slam for the period 2021-2023. Jeff Bezos’ firm has got its hands on lot number 2, which grants it the exclusivity of matches broadcast on the Simonne-Mathieu court, the third largest on the site, as well as on the night sessions, a great novelty of this Roland -Garros 2021 which begins this Sunday.

Nothing incongruous in this tennis foray. In recent years, Amazon has increased its acquisitions of rights to broadcast sporting events internationally. Tennis therefore, also with the broadcast of the US Open in the United Kingdom and Ireland, American football with NFL matches in the United States, and football with the Premier League in the United Kingdom and the Champions League in Germany and Italy.

Amélie Mauresmo snatched from France Télévisions

« Amazon is acquiring rights to recruit subscribers to its Prime service, which is a huge supermarket of services (Editor’s note: purchases and deliveries of products, but also purchases of video content) , explains Arnaud Simon, founder of In & Out Stories and market expert. It is not buying content for content, but creating a leading product, a showcase. « 

“We are impatient to show our know-how to our French subscribers. We will give them a new possibility to have fun on Amazon Prime and it will also be a good opportunity for others to join us, ”continues Alex Green. The latter refuses to give the number of French subscribers to the platform, but Médiamétrie estimated the number of users at 5.8 million in September 2020.

Amazon intends to take advantage of the fortnight on clay to show its know-how to French sports fans. “This is the most important thing before business: that they appreciate our coverage of the event,” says Alex Green. And for that, they did not hesitate to steal from France Télévisions one of its star consultants, the former world number one Amélie Mauresmo. “I’m not going to lie, there is the attraction of money, but it’s not just that. If it was just a check it would have been No thanks « , Explains the concerned, who wants » to seduce young people « via the streaming platform.

The arrival of Amazon does not worry the public service. “There is no war between us. We have always shared the rights, recalls Laurent-Éric Le Lay, the sports boss of France Televisions. Amazon is certainly a new player, but it is a broadcaster like any other. We work very well together. So, no worry about future rights in magazines: the day after a match, each can use the images of the other.

« It is Roland Garros who decides the programming »

Internally, some remain cautious. “It will be necessary to show pedagogy so that the public understands that all the meetings are not in the same place, estimates an employee. And in the round of 16, only one French competitor remains, France Télévisions will inevitably want its match, but Amazon will also come out with its arguments. « It is Roland Garros who decides the programming, slice Laurent-Éric Le Lay. They take into account the opinions of French and international broadcasters, not to mention all the other parameters related to players. « 

And after Roland-Garros? Mystery. In February, Amazon applied for the emergency bidding for Ligue 1, but failed to hit the floor price to secure a bundle. Alex Green refuses to say if the giant will try his luck again for these same rights, the majority of which are free for next season. The tendency is rather not to go there. But while being ready to jump at a possible good opportunity.


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