Amazon’s coverage of US Open: The Verdict

Amazon’s coverage of US Open: The Verdict

When Amazon secured exclusive UK rights to the US Open for the next five years back in April, it was clear the brains behind the £700 billion organisation learned something from their television counterparts: live sport is the driving force behind paid TV subscriptions.

However, the announcement was initially met with contempt from the public, who felt frustrated with the prospect of having to pay for yet another subscription package.

Fast forward two months and the world’s largest online retailer broke the seemingly strong ownership that Sky and BT have over the Premier League, with the introduction of 20 midweek games to be broadcast on Amazon Prime for the 2019/20 season. If Amazon succeeds in implementing and increasing its live sport coverage then essentially it has bridged the gap between being an additional service for TV to being a substitute for TV.

One positive thing to come out of the stream was the appreciation for the quality of the studio members. Catherine Whitaker returns to host coverage alongside former players such as Greg Rusedski, Daniela Hantuchova, Jimmy Connors, Jim Courier, Mark Petchey and Annabel Croft. In this regard, little is different to the Sky Sports coverage that many have become accustomed to.

After the likes of YouTube, DAZN and Optus all suffered issues during online services with their paying customers this past year, Amazon would have been wary of teething problems. These worries became genuine issues when fans were left disappointed that they were not able to watch Heather Watson, but rather two streams of Andy Murray.

Amazon Prime’s coverage includes five separate streams made up of a main channel for the studio, three show courts and a choice of the outside courts, with an additional two streams set to be introduced from Friday. The ability to only show one outside match at any given time meant that the scheduled Watson game could not be shown due to the men’s match not finishing in time.

Viewers were also quick to jump on the poor quality of the coverage, with unsteady camera work and what appeared to be drone footage. The largest complaint of all seemed to centre around the lack of direction on the the Amazon Prime website itself. Put simply, Amazon’s subscribers are becoming increasingly disgruntled with under par user experience, which is something Amazon will need to address quickly if they’re to retain those customers who signed up purely to watch the US Open.

On the back end of these issues, Amazon currently has a 1.4 out of 5 star rating with 82% of viewers giving it just one star. A report from The Guardian this morning showed that the number of complaints has risen so much that Amazon has temporarily prevented fans from writing reviews.

As this is the first major tennis tournament exclusively shown on a streaming service, Amazon officials may well be seeing their UK ownership of the tournament as a testing platform for the future. While the issues have come in their hundreds, it is simply inadequate when you compare it to the 8 million UK Prime members.

Related Articles

Snack Summary – Mourinho out and NHL team up with Amazon Alexa-enabled devices

By Harriet Lewis on 21st December 2018


Five Events & Seven Days in Football – The Bursting of the Bubble or a New Era?

By Harriet Lewis on 14th June 2018


Snack Summary-Premier League clubs look to take advantage of new fan engagement tools and Manchester City and Amazon agree a deal to create a documentary series

By Jodie Cormack on 10th November 2017


Snack Summary-Amazon and NFL

By Jodie Cormack on 27th October 2017