Amazon’s Twitch Moves Further into Sports with Arsenal, Real Madrid Deal
Amazon-owned streaming service Twitch is growing its presence in traditional as well as e-sports with a new deal struck to feature exclusive content from four elite European clubs: Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, and Arsenal.
According to a story in Sports Pro Media, the deal will see the clubs collaborate with the platform to produce a slate of behind-the-scenes content, with the potential to show non-league appearances.
The move reveals a new balance of power in sports media: Twitch points directly at a young demographic, while also offering a sense of community and interactivity that traditional rights holders can lack.
Currently, the arrangement with the clubs are in the form of strategic partnerships that will provide content to bolster the re-launched /twitchsports in order to highlight the platform’s now rather rich sports programming.
In order to build interest, the relaunch on the 22nd included a showcase in which each new partner – among them Arsenal, the NBA, and UFC – used two-hour time slots to broadcast their content.
The news follows Twitch’s first broadcast of a Premier League game between Crystal Palace and Burnley for free. It’s a twist in a tale that not long ago imagined Amazon continuing a tried and tested method of putting ultra-premium content behind a paywall, effectively digitising the work of traditional rights holders.
Not so, says Twitch, which appears to believe in its own potential to bring in audiences beyond its traditional hardcore of gaming and e-sports fans.
Twitch is the 35th most viewed site on the internet, it’s seeing vast growth in users and viewing time, and it’s increasingly the preferred channel for an e-sports space that is fast becoming too powerful to ignore.
Ahead of this news, it had already made moves in America with Sports partners in the US including National Women’s Hockey Association, USA Basketball, the NBA and NFL Thursday Night Football. In a very recent deal, Twitch signed on to become the exclusive international broadcast partner of the National Women’s Soccer League, the US top flight.