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Amazon Eyeing Fox Sports Assets: Augmenting Its Prime Membership Value Proposition

Professor of Financial Economics and Part-time Value Investor, Transfin.
Nov 22, 2018 8:08 AM 2 min read

Amazon is reportedly bidding for Fox’s 22 regional sports assets, in effect attempting to deepen its live-sporting footprint and augment the overall value proposition associated with its Prime Membership.


As per press reports, Amazon is attempting to bolster up it sports presence by bidding on Fox’s 22 regional sports channels which are now up for sale resulting from the regulatory nuances associated with the high-profile Disney-Fox merger. As such , Amazon's interest in the aforementioned assets is perhaps aimed to enhance the value proposition embedded in its Prime Membership - central to Amazon's entire strategy playbook. 


These sports networks are up for sale largely due to the regulatory requirement arising from Disney’s acquisition of Fox wherein Disney ought to offload Fox’s 22 regional sports networks.


‘New Fox’ is also perhaps in the running to buy back the 22 regional sports network to enhance its new value proposition and cement its competitive positioning:


Fox News, Fox Sports and its TV stations were not part of the Disney-Fox transaction. In that context, the ‘New Fox’ potentially views these sports assets as key to uplift the value proposition that it has to offer. Consequently, one would expect 'New Fox' to enter into the bidding game to buy-back the networks, albeit up against bidders with deep coffers. In that context, Amazon’s interest in these networks (along with other financial investors) could drive a meaningful uptick in purchase price if this turns into an elaborate competitive bidding game. 


[Listen in from 10:30 onwards to learn more on the potential rationale behind Amazon's bid for Fox's Sports Assets]


Amazon not entirely new to the world of sports – has distribution partnership deals with National Football League for Thursday Night Football and also for select games in English Premier League (EPL).


Amazon has already ventured into live sports through streaming partnership with US-based National Football League (NFL) for Thursday Night Football. Furthermore, inroads into distributing selected games from the highly watched English Premier League (EPL) further substantiates Amazon's ambitions within the sporting arena. 


In the Indian context, Hotstar, appears to be well ahead in its live-sports offering and its Disney ownership adds an interesting angle; However, Amazon’s deeper push into sports perhaps heightens Hotstar’s risk profile further. 


With a wide-ranging portfolio of sporting assets at play, Hotstar appears to be well ahead in terms of positioning itself as a sports-centric over-the-top distribution platform in India. Given its Disney/Fox ownership, there is clearly some ESPN-Hotstar synergies to garner which might be worthwhile to keep track of. However, given Hotstar’s meaningful reliance on Star India’s ownership of sports content rights,  Amazon’s deeper push into live-sports further heightens Hotstar’s risk-profile. 


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