Wimbledon’s commercial and media director Mark Desmond has admitted the All England Club has been talking to Amazon for the last two years.
In an interview with the Evening Standard, Desmond said he expects Amazon to become a major player in sports rights: “They’re going to learn, I think they are open enough to say they’re in a learning process,” he said. “We’ve been talking to Amazon for two years, not just about live rights but about what we may well do in terms of looking at other content plays with them.
“They’re going to be an enormous player. They’re going to be here for the long-term as a trillion dollar business. They can buy production capability and talent.”
However, Desmond stressed the discussions with Amazon should not be seen as impacting Wimbledon’s deal with the BBC, which currently runs until 2024, describing the deal as “hugely significant and valued”.
“The relationship with the BBC goes back a long way, in many ways they’re part of our brand. If you think our raison d’être is not only to generate revenues to reinvest in the championships but also for British tennis,” he said.
“What bigger advert could you have for playing tennis in the UK than what the BBC gives us? It’s not just live play, we’re in their news feature, their weather feature, the One Show and everything is played across all their digital assets for the 13 days.”
Amazon already owns the rights to the US Open in the UK, although as TVBEurope reported, their coverage wasn’t a huge smash with viewers.