Amazon Prime Video enters live sports streaming in India, further heats up OTT sector
They say you can't win OTT in India until you start streaming cricket. Given the current pecking order of OTT services in the country, it could well be true.
But things stand to change with Amazon Prime Video announcing its foray into live sports streaming in India and challenging the likes of Disney+ Hotstar, which dominates the segment, and SonyLIV.
Amazon has won the exclusive rights to New Zealand Cricket (NZC) matches, including both men’s and women’s cricket — across ODI, T20, and Tests —starting from the 2021-22 season through to the 2025-2026 season. This also includes Team India's tour to New Zealand in early 2022 and a second tour whose dates are yet to be announced.
NZC rights were earlier held by market leader Disney+ Hotstar (which also owns the rights to BCCI matches, including the IPL) chose not to renew its deal with the New Zealand Cricket Board. Additionally, the rights for 2020-2021 season starting later this month will also be syndicated by Amazon Prime Video, the company stated.
Sports streaming in India is led by Disney+ Hotstar and SonyLIV at present.
Gaurav Gandhi, Director & Country General Manager, Amazon Prime Video said, "We are excited to add India’s most loved game—cricket—to our content selection for our Prime Video customers, and we are thrilled to work with New Zealand Cricket on this endeavour as they have a strong, passionate and much-loved cricket team, and the cricketing rivalry between the two countries has been fantastic. We are happy to make this collaboration with New Zealand Cricket our first live sports offering in India."
While this is Amazon Prime Video's first foray into sports streaming in India, the global video streaming service has been expanding its sports catalogue in other countries for a while.
Prime Video holds the streaming rights for events such as Thursday Night Football, the Premier League, ATP Tour Events, WTA, the US Open (tennis), UEFA Champions League, Autumn Nations Cup (rugby), and the Seattle Sounders FC.
Talking of the latest partnership, David White, Chief Executive, New Zealand Cricket, said: "This partnership with Amazon Prime Video is massive for NZC — we’re delighted to be teaming up with such a successful brand. The future of live sport is streaming and in Amazon Prime Video we have a partner right at the centre of the industry; innovative, trend-setting and well-known for putting fans and subscribers first."