Amazon make major move in sports market by snatching US Open rights

The US Open will become the first Grand Slam to be shown solely on a digital platform.

The Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows.
The Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows.
Image: Corbis via Getty Images

Updated Apr 19th 2018, 5:00 PM

AMAZON HAS MADE its first major foray into the sports broadcasting market with the acquisition of live television rights of the US Open in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The five-year agreement with the USTA to carry live coverage of the final Grand Slam of the season means, from 2019 onwards, there will be no elite tennis available on Sky Sports platforms for the first time since its launch in 1991.

Today’s announcement represents another significant move from Amazon into the market, with the e-commerce giant also snatching the ATP World Tour rights off Sky before Christmas.

The US Open will become the first Grand Slam to be shown solely on a digital platform in the UK and Ireland.

As well as showing 37 ATP tournaments from next year, Amazon will bring live and on-demand coverage of this summer’s US Open to Prime Video members in both the UK and Ireland at no additional cost, with the channel available on its app for TV, game consoles, mobile devices and online.

A monthly subscription for Amazon Prime Video is currently €5.99.

“We are proud to partner with the USTA to add the US Open to the growing portfolio of sports available on Prime Video,” Alex Green, managing director of Prime Video Europe, said.

“This prestigious event, along with the other exciting tennis coming this year and next, makes Prime Video a destination for tennis fans in the UK and Ireland.”

2017 U.S. Open Tennis Tournament. Rafa Nadal is the defending men's singles champion. Source: Corbis via Getty Images

Lew Sherr, USTA chief revenue officer, added: “This new partnership allows the USTA to showcase our live and on-demand content to Amazon Prime Video members throughout the UK and Ireland. We are excited to market the telecasts via Prime Video and provide fans more ways to watch tennis matches.”

Sky Sports ended its 25-year association with the US Open in 2016 but coverage was still available to customers as part of a sub-licensing deal with Eurosport.

The absence of elite tennis on the broadcaster’s sports subscription package is the latest in a series of setbacks for Sky, following the loss of live Champions League football, last winter’s Ashes series and USPGA Championship golf among other deals in recent times.

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The 2018 US Open will be the 50th edition of the tournament and takes place between 27 August and 9 September at Flushing Meadows.

It will also be the first tournament to be played at the Billie Jean King national tennis centre since the completion of a major redevelopment, which includes the upgrade of the Louis Armstrong Stadium to a 14,000-seater arena.

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