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Troy Aikman. Photo by Bloomberg.

What Troy Aikman’s ESPN Move Says About Amazon’s Status in Media

Photo: Troy Aikman. Photo by Bloomberg.

ESPN’s confirmation today that it signed former star Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, along with sportscaster Joe Buck, to announce Monday Night Football games is a reminder of the pull that the Disney-controlled cable sports channel still exercises in the media. Aikman, most recently at Fox Sports, had been reportedly courted by Amazon to join Prime Video and announce its Thursday night NFL games. But as he explained in this interview with SI in January, the relatively small size of Amazon’s audience made the outlet unappealing. ESPN, of course, is the big dog of sports TV.

Aikman’s comments are something FTC chief Lina Khan might want to think about as she weighs whether to block Amazon’s acquisition of MGM. Khan is no doubt considering the MGM deal in the context of Amazon’s overall power and sprawl. But a logical starting point has to be Amazon’s market position in streaming—which isn’t particularly strong. The most recent Nielsen ranking of top streaming programs, for instance, shows just one Amazon show in the top 10, two from Disney and seven from Netflix. 

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