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Amazon didn't get the NFL deal, but it's getting more serious about sports

Amazon hires James DeLorenzo to head up its newly created sports group.

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Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Heads up, ESPN: Amazon wants to get into sports on the web.

The giant retailer, which tried but failed to land a deal to stream live NFL games, wants to stream other sports via its growing web video operation.

That’s why it has hired an executive to head up a new sports group: James DeLorenzo started working at the company as head of sports in March, per his LinkedIn bio. That’s the hire I said Amazon was trying to make earlier this year, noting that it had approached several high-level executives.

DeLorenzo comes to Amazon after a year at Relativity Media, the troubled Hollywood studio (which emerged from bankruptcy last month). Prior to that, he ran digital video for Sports Illustrated and helped Time Inc.’s publication launch its 120 Sports video joint venture. I’ve asked Amazon for comment.

We don’t know how big Amazon’s ambitions in sports are, but it certainly has the resources to spend its way into the marketplace if it wants to.

On the other hand, Amazon didn’t try to spend wildly when the NFL auctioned off the rights to 10 Thursday night games last month: Sources say Twitter won the deal by offering around $10 million, while Amazon came in around $15 million. (Yes, Twitter bid less, and won.)

Which indicates that for now, at least, DeLorenzo doesn’t have a blank check for any video that involves a ball.

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