Amazon open talks with Sale Sharks over behind-the-scenes documentary as they look to expand their rugby reach after agreeing multi-million-pound Autumn Nations Cup deal
- Amazon have opened talks about a behind-the-scenes documentary with Sale
- Amazon signed a multi-million-pound deal to broadcast Autumn Nations Cup
- They are yet to air Premiership games but rights deal will become available soon
Amazon could expand their rugby reach after opening talks about a behind-the-scenes documentary with Sale Sharks.
As revealed by the Mail on Sunday last week, the online retail giant is ready to dip their toe into the sport after agreeing a multi-million-pound deal to broadcast the Autumn Nations Cup on their Amazon Prime channel.
Now they have been approached about a collaboration with Sale and have already been pitched a trailer for the potential series.
Amazon have opened talks about a behind-the-scenes documentary with Sale Sharks
They have been approached for collaboration with Sale and have already been pitched a trailer
Cash-rich Amazon are yet to air any Premiership fixtures, although the league’s TV deal with BT Sport will soon come up for renewal.
Rugby is desperate for new income streams and Exeter Chiefs owner Tony Rowe said the powerbrokers must be open-minded about moving away from traditional platforms.
‘If it produces more money for us [then you have to consider it]’, Rowe told the Mail on Sunday. ‘We’re talking about survival.
‘We’re losing about a million pounds a month as a club and we can only afford that for a limited amount of time.’
Cash-rich Amazon are yet to air any Premiership fixtures but TV deal is up for renewal soon
Exeter are hoping to stage the next pilot event with fans later this month, when they host London Irish.
However Rowe insisted that hosting crowds limited to 1,000 is not sustainable. ‘They won’t really generate any money,’ said Rowe. ‘The problem is that the whole league is geared up around the capacity you get in your stadium.
‘The reality is having 1,000 people in, with all the stewarding, you’re going to lose even more money. You’ve got to start somewhere, though.
‘We can’t keep going for ever if we can’t put bums on seats. We’ve got cashflows for two or three different scenarios. If we can’t have reasonable numbers in the stadium by February then we will really start to struggle.
‘The club has been run profitably over the years so we’ve got stuff we can fall back on, but it’s taken us a long time to build up our reserves and our plans for the future, so it will knock us back big time.’
Championship clubs have warned the Rugby Football Union that it would be ‘financial suicide’ to play the 2020/21 season with the current Covid restrictions still in place.
Exeter owner Tony Rowe said the powerbrokers must be open-minded over income streams
With central funding cut and no TV money in the pipeline, owners fear the cost of staging games with limited crowds could send clubs under. The Mail on Sunday has spoken to multiple owners of Championship clubs, who have cast doubt over the campaign, which is set to feature relegated Saracens.
‘Carrying on regardless and playing games behind closed doors will not be financially viable,’ said Nottingham chairman Alistair Bow. ‘For us to get out of this coming season with a loss that is just about sustainable, we need certain boxes ticking: free of charge testing, meaningful crowds — 30 to 50 per cent capacity at least — and proper rugby.
‘Without that, it would be financial suicide to even play the game. You’d have to consider whether you’re better just sitting tight.’
l ENGLAND stars have announced a 25 per cent pay cut as part of a new Elite Player Squad deal for the 2020/21 season.
As revealed by the Mail on Sunday last month, the likes of Owen Farrell and Jamie George have agreed to drop £6,000 from their match fee when Tests resume this autumn and will now earn around £17,000 per match.
A number of player welfare initiatives have also been written into the contract, including rest periods. Hooker George said: ‘We fully understand the pressures in the next 12 months so it was vital to agree these provisions.’