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Amazon, ESPN+, Micropayments & the Future of Streaming Sports

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Welcome to the latest episode of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research where Associate Stock Strategist Ben Rains breaks down Amazon’s (AMZN - Free Report)  Thursday Night Football innovations. The episode then dives into the latest news from Disney’s (DIS - Free Report) ESPN+, Turner and the NBA, and more as we explore the future of streaming sports.

Amazon kicked off its second season of Thursday Night Football as the tech giant races to grab more live sports rights to fight off Facebook (FB - Free Report) , Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) , and others. This season Amazon will stream all of the games for free on its Twitch platform, where fans can experiment with new interactive features. Meanwhile, Amazon’s Prime Video coverage now offers viewers the chance to pick from a variety of commentary options and shop for official NFL gear—to Nike’s (NKE - Free Report) benefit.

Jeff Bezos’ company also introduced a new weekly football show to complement its NFL coverage. But as Amazon dives deeper into live sports the firm has to do more than stream Fox’s (FOXA - Free Report) coverage on its platform.

Amazon’s push comes as the NFL’s ratings decline across CBS (CBS - Free Report) , NBC (CMCSA - Free Report) , ESPN, and Fox. Yet amid all of the cord-cutting talk, sports fans already have multiple ways to access live sports without cable. This list includes Google’s (GOOGL - Free Report) YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, AT&T’s (T - Free Report) DirecTV Now, Dish Network’s Sling TV, and more. The only problem is none of these options offer all of the live sports that many fans crave, and paying for multiple streaming platforms, such as Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) adds up quickly.

The episode then dives into the NBA and Turner Broadcasting’s new initiative that allows fans to purchase the fourth quarter of live NBA games. Starting this season, NBA fans can purchase the fourth quarter of any out-of-market game on NBA League Pass for $1.99. The NBA and Turner might be ahead of the curve in terms of micropayments that could become increasingly popular as live, in-game betting proliferates.

Along with Amazon, Disney has started to stand out amid a crowded streaming sports market. The success of its ESPN+ streaming service, which launched in April and doesn’t feature ESPN’s premier content, is a great sign for investors.

As a reminder, if you feel that we missed something, or if you have any topic suggestions, shoot us an email at podcast@zacks.com. Make sure to check out all of our other audio content at zacks.com/podcasts, and remember to subscribe and leave us a rating on Apple Podcasts.

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