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Amazon Plots Sports Streaming Domination, And Hopes You’ll Even Get Into New Zealand Rugby — Exclusive

Following docuseries on the NFL, auto racing, the Tour de France, and tennis, Amazon Prime will next follow New Zealand's national rugby team "All Blacks."

New Zealand fullback Israel Dagg leaps to take the ball during the second rugby test between the British and Irish Lions and the All Blacks in Wellington, New ZealandRugby All Blacks Lions, Auckland, New Zealand - 01 Jul 2017

New Zealand fullback Israel Dagg leaps to take the ball


Amazon Prime Video wants to be a global powerhouse in reality TV, and it’s relying on the international language of sports to grow that business.

Following the return of the Amazon NFL series “All or Nothing” (which this year chronicles a season inside the Los Angeles Rams organization), the streaming service has ordered a similar show that follows New Zealand’s national rugby team.

The series will focus on the “All Blacks,” which is known as having the best winning record of any team sport in history (84% wins over the last 130 years).

Reality vet Eden Gaha, whose credits include “Survivor,” “Celebrity Apprentice” and “Masterchef,” will executive produce the series. Like “All or Nothing,” the All Blacks series will train cameras on the rugby club during its 2017-2018 season. That included a recent match against the British and Irish Lions (which takes place once every 16 years) and the annual Rugby Championship in August.

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According to Amazon, “‘All Blacks’ tells the broader story of the team’s importance to the country of New Zealand. Its global dominance is a point of cultural pride for the small country of four million residents, and the nation’s mood is often determined by the fate of the team. The show will portray this cultural connection through the eyes of the players and through scenes and interviews with globally recognized New Zealanders who will help drive the overall series narrative, providing viewers a familiar reference point and help add context to an audience who may have little understanding or knowledge of rugby.”

Gaha was not only tapped to oversee the series because of his reality chops: He’s also a former rugby player.

The news comes several months after Bloomberg reported that Amazon was shopping for video rights to stream sports such as French Open tennis and professional rugby. This isn’t quite the same thing – it’s a docuseries, not actual coverage of sporting matches. But it’s further proof that Amazon sees sports, and in particular games that are popular internationally, as a winning formula for its rapidly expanding unscripted footprint.

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Conrad Riggs, head of unscripted fare for Amazon Originals, has been developing series with international appeal ever since Amazon Prime Video expanded its footprint at the end of 2016. Now that Amazon Prime is available in more than 200 territories, Riggs said series that have fared well internationally include the automotive series “The Grand Tour,” hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.

The Grand Tour Season 1 Episode 1 Amazon

“The Grand Tour”

Amazon Studios

On the heels of “The Grand Tour,” Amazon also launched the motorsport show “LeMans: Racing is Everything,” and a McLaren Formula One docuseries. Other sports-themed Amazon unscripted projects include a documentary about top tennis player Novak Djokovic, and an untitled Tour de France project that follows chef Hannah Grant at the cycling race.

When asked about the focus on a wide variety of international sports, Riggs recently told IndieWire, “There are ideas there that are ripe for the picking.”

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