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Amazon dips toe in Australian market with swimming streaming deal

Two-year, global deal includes qualifiers for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

4 February 2021 Sam Carp

Getty Images

  • Rights package also covers qualifying events for 2022 Fina World Swimming Championships and Commonwealth Games
  • Deal ends Swimming Australia’s search for broadcast partner following termination of Seven partnership in October

Amazon has acquired live sports rights to an Australian sports event for the first time through an exclusive two-year deal with Swimming Australia.

The global partnership, which includes domestic rights, will see the internet giant’s Prime Video streaming service show the various Australian Swimming championship events worldwide at no additional cost to subscribers. 

The deal includes coverage of June’s Australian Swimming Trials, which serve as qualifiers for this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the qualifying events for the 2022 Fina World Swimming Championships and next year’s Commonwealth Games.

“We are focused on giving our customers access to the best selection of content possible, including the ability to watch live sport when and how they want to watch it,” said Marie Donoghue, Amazon’s vice president of global sports video.

“Streaming the upcoming Swimming Australia championship events on Prime Video is a great step toward achieving that global vision, and offers tremendous new value for Prime members in Australia and beyond.”

The deal ends Swimming Australia’s search for a new broadcast partner after the national governing body was forced to terminate its deal with free-to-air commercial network Seven back in October when it was unable to stage its Olympic and Paralympic qualifiers due to the pandemic.

That long-term agreement was signed in 2015 for an initial five years and included the option to extend until 2025.

Commenting on the deal with Amazon, Swimming Australia president Kieren Perkins said:  “To be able to partner our sport with one of the biggest streaming services in the world provides us with fantastic opportunities to deliver premium live swimming content to Australians and a global Prime Video audience.

“Swimming is ingrained in our culture, and we know that millions of fans support the Australian Dolphins Swim Team when they compete. Also, our current generation of swimmers, including those who have an eye on competing in Paris 2024 and beyond, will love being able to live stream the sport wherever they are.”

Amazon has previously showcased Australian sport through docuseries such as The Test, which followed Australia’s national cricket team, but this marks its first foray into live streaming in the market. 

The deal continues a busy week for Amazon, which on Tuesday made an unsuccessful bid to secure domestic rights to Ligue 1, French soccer’s top flight.

Amazon’s burgeoning rights portfolio already includes deals in the UK, Germany, Italy and the United States, and the Seattle-based company most recently made its first move in India through a six-year partnership for the territory with New Zealand Cricket (NZC).

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