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Report: Amazon May 'Become a Player' in Future NCAA Conference Realignment

Doric SamSeptember 20, 2022

Tim Fuller/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Amazon Prime Video officially joined the football world with last week's debut broadcast of Thursday Night Football, and the streaming service is reportedly looking to expand to the college ranks, which could lead to notable ramifications.

According to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, Amazon "has emerged as a significant party in college football media rights talks and therefore may become a player in further conference realignment."

Dodd noted that Amazon "has been linked" to the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12, as all three conferences are set to undergo major changes in the near future. USC and UCLA announced in July their plan to move from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten in 2024. The Big 12 is preparing for the impending losses of Texas and Oklahoma, who will be joining the SEC in 2025. Next year, the Big 12 will add Cincinnati, BYU, Houston and UCF to the conference.

The Big Ten signed a new media rights deal with CBS, Fox and NBC last month. Per Dodd, this could create an issue with the quality of content Amazon would potentially be pursuing, considering it likely won't broadcast the top-tier schools such as Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State.

"Amazon finds itself in a situation where it is likely weighing whether to buy top-tier games from the Big 12 and/or Pac-12 compared to lower-profile options from the Big Ten," Dodd stated.

The Big 12 and Pac-12 are also already searching for new media rights deals, with Fox and ESPN "believed to be the primary bidders," per Dodd.

While it is believed that it's an inevitability that Amazon will expand its sports broadcasting eventually, some are still questioning the viability of major games that are only available through a streaming service.

"Streaming is going to continue to grow," one industry source told Dodd, "but there is a reason why the NFL is still [largely] on network television."

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