Why Amazon's move into sports is a win-win

Nick Monte

Baseball season may be slowly winding down, but Amazon (AMZN) is ramping up coverage of America’s past time.

Disney (DIS) recently announced it is selling its stake in the YES network (the Yankees Entertainment Sports network, which broadcasts Yankee games) to an investor group that includes the e-commerce giant as well as Sinclair Broadcast Group.

While Amazon Prime Video pales in comparison to content on Netflix, Hulu and YouTube (GOOGL), some industry experts say it’s a smart move that will help Amazon take on its streaming competitors.

“They just want to increase their stake in sports, “ says HuffPost’s Heather Gardner, who covers pop culture and celebrity news. “Going to bat with the Yankees is just one of the major sports moves Amazon is signing onto its roster,” she said.

“[The group has] bought the rights to NFL; they are streaming Thursday night football this year. They’ve also bought the rights to the UK’s premier soccer league, which is the biggest soccer league in the entire world. ... Live broadcast is the real big thing here. Having live Yankees games, live NFL, live soccer — they’re really going in hard on this. It’s a play on Disney as well since they own ESPN.”

Gardner also thinks it’s a win-win for the Yankees. “The people that own the highest stake [in YES] is the Yankees. They got a better deal out of this than Amazon. They own 26% of this now — of their own brand.”

Sinclair will own 20%, Amazon 15%, with the right to purchase more, and the rest split among the deal's other investors, which includes RedBird Capital, The Blackstone Group and Mubadala Capital.

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Nick Monte is a producer at Yahoo Finance.

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