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Amazon has added another sports property to its streaming portfolio.
The tech giant’s Prime Video streaming service has picked up partial rights to the WNBA in a multiyear deal. Under the agreement, Amazon will live-stream 16 regular season games in 2021, including the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup title game.
ESPN and CBS Sports have TV rights to the women’s basketball league, whose 25th season tips off Friday. The league also has streaming deals with Twitter and Facebook.
“The WNBA is one of the premier professional sports leagues in the world and serves as an inspiration to millions of young and aspiring athletes everywhere,” said Marie Donoghue, vp global sports video at Amazon. “I am delighted we are bringing these outstanding athletes and games to Prime Video.”
Said WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, “Innovative competitions require exceptional partners, and we’re thrilled that Amazon will be streaming a WNBA game of the week and our inaugural Commissioner’s Cup Championship this year. We’re grateful for Amazon’s support in increasing visibility and expanding access to our fans to more games on more devices, and we’re honored to be the first professional basketball league streamed on Prime Video as part of a Prime membership.”
The WNBA will designate 10 regular season games for each team as part of the Commissioner’s Cup this season. The teams from each conference with the best record across the Cup games will play for the Commissioner’s Cup trophy and a special prize pool Aug. 12. Prime Video will carry that game, along with 15 others during the season. The first nine of those, starting with a May 29 matchup between the Atlanta Dream and New York Liberty, will be Commissioner’s Cup contests.
Amazon has made a concerted push into live sports streaming, notably by securing exclusive rights (aside from local over-the-air broadcasts in home markets) to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football slate starting in 2022. Prime Video also streams New York Yankees games and Seattle Sounders MLS matches in the United States and Premier League soccer in the U.K., among other sports deals.
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