Amazon serves up US Open in Grand Slam tennis rights foray

Fans in Ireland and UK will need Prime Video subscription to watch tournament

 US Open champion Sloane Stephens pictured en route to her victory in the women’s singles in New York last September. Photograph: Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images.

US Open champion Sloane Stephens pictured en route to her victory in the women’s singles in New York last September. Photograph: Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images.

 

Amazon Prime Video has taken the exclusive rights to the US Open tennis tournament in the UK and Ireland from Eurosport, starting this autumn, in a deal that will yield the first action from its foray into sports rights in this region.

The tech giant’s five-year agreement with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) means its streaming service Amazon Prime will be the only place to watch the US Open, one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, from August 27th.

Live coverage and on-demand match highlights from the event will be available to UK and Ireland customers of Amazon Prime Video as part of their subscription.

The fortnight of tennis from New York will sit alongside Amazon’s catalogue of original content, which includes motoring show The Grand Tour and Golden Globe-winning comedy drama The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.

Amazon’s advance had been expected since last November when Ireland and the UK were conspicuous by their absence from the renewal of Eurosport’s deal with USTA.

Rumours that Amazon would take the US Open rights to the two territories were fuelled by its parallel move to outbid Sky for the rights to certain ATP men’s tennis tour events from 2019.

Premier League

The company is also thought to be in the frame for some of the unsold rights to Premier League football matches from the 2019-2020 season onwards. Two packages of 20 matches each are yet to be allocated after Sky and BT Sport split the main five packages, or some 160 fixtures, between them.

Eurosport, owned by US media corporation Discovery Communications, remains the home of live coverage of the Australian Open and the French Open tennis tournaments, while it also shows highlights of Wimbledon.

This year will be the 50th anniversary of the US Open, held each year at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing in the New York borough of Queens. The reigning men’s singles champion is Spain’s Rafael Nadal and the reigning women’s singles champion is American Sloane Stephens.

“We are proud to partner with the USTA to add the US Open to the growing portfolio of sports available on Prime Video,” said Alex Green, managing director, channels and sports, for Prime Video Europe.

“This prestigious event, along with the other exciting tennis coming this year and next makes Prime Video a destination for tennis fans in the UK and Ireland.”

The streaming service has more than 100 million subscribers worldwide, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos revealed this week.