Amazon turns to ex-ESPN exec to boost sports drive

Amazon turns to ex-ESPN exec to boost sports drive

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Internet giant Amazon has recruited former ESPN executive vice president Marie Donoghue to bolster its sports video team.

Donoghue, who left ESPN last year, joins Jeff Bezos’ conglomerate as vice president of sports video. It is unclear where she fits into a team seemingly led by head of sports Jim DeLorenzo, who was hired to in early 2016.

The announcement comes as Amazon prepares for its second season streaming the National Football League’s (NFL) Thursday Night Fooball on its Prime platform and in the midst of its first Grand Slam tennis offering in the UK and Ireland with the US Open.

Donoghue spent 17 years with ESPN and played a key role in its original content successes, the "30 For 30" documentary series and Oscar-winning documentary "OJ: Made in America".

The fit for Donoghue and Amazon seems a good one, with Prime’s long-form sports documentary portfolio growing in recent months. English soccer team Manchester City's eight-part ‘All Or Nothing’ series launched in August and followed similar offerings with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, LA Rams and Dallas Cowboys, as well as the New Zealand national rugby union team.

Amazon has actively chosen to pursue live sports rights, securing a small UK package of Premier League soccer starting with the 2019/20 season. Although limited in size, the specific tranche of games allows Prime to show a full matchday program of ten games twice during the season, including the big ticket Boxing Day games.