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Volume 27 No. 10
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Execs Seek To Understand Amazon Investment In YES Net

Amazon taking a stake in YES Network was perplexing for some panelists during Day 1 of the Endeavor Streaming Sports Media & Technology conference. SNY President Steve Raab said he was unsure about the reasons behind the investment. “I wish I had a really smart answer as to why they invested in YES,” Raab said. “There are probably reasons. I just don’t know. Maybe they are thinking about way into the future, when the landscape and the rules and what the leagues are doing changes. ... It’s also not a huge investment for them, so to sort of hang around and stick your toe in the water, maybe it makes sense. But at least on the surface -- and there are people who are much smarter than I am -- I don’t quite get it.”

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Senior VP/Strategic Initiatives Zach Leonsis was also curious about the deal: “It’s unclear to me what Amazon’s strategy is, but I would expect that they’re interested in national, leaguewide rights deals, as opposed to local ones -- so I agree that makes the YES investment a little interesting. I think we would all love to learn more about how that fits into their big picture.”

Leonsis did say that he considers Amazon’s move an encouraging one. Leonsis: “It’s great for content IP owners. It’s great for teams, and it’s great for leagues to have more entrants. And Amazon, of course, has proven they can stream and accommodate big, important leagues and games. So, we certainly welcome that.” Leonsis added that he believes ESPN+ will be “interested in leaguewide deals as opposed to regional ones.”