NFL and Amazon Sign Deal to Stream Thursday Night Games

The National Football League has signed a one-year agreement to stream 10 Thursday night games via Amazon in a deal insiders say is valued in the $50 million range (about five times the value of last season’s deal with Twitter). The games streamed for free on Twitter, but the Amazon deal will stream only to Prime members. Globally, more than 60 million consumers pay the annual $99 fee for Amazon Prime with perks including two-day shipping and access to movies, TV shows and music. The NFL deal is not exclusive; Thursday night games are split between CBS and NBC for television broadcasts, and are also made available on the NFL Network.

“Other bidders for the Thursday night streaming package included Google, Twitter and Facebook,” reports The Wall Street Journal.


Amazon’s move distinguishes it from competitors such as Netflix and Hulu, which have so far opted not to pursue sports or other live content.

“Amazon has also sought live game rights from various other right holders, from the NBA to soccer and surfing leagues,” notes WSJ. “With some, it has even raised the idea of creating a premium sports package that would be offered as an add-on for Prime members.”

For the NFL, the deal is another step by the league “to experiment with new distribution platforms as viewing patterns continue to shift away from traditional media.”

While the deal serves as a blow to Twitter, since the “NFL partnership was the cornerstone of Twitter’s live-streaming video strategy that it has been pushing to investors for almost a year,” explains Recode, the company indicates it will remain committed to its video efforts.

According to Twitter: “Since last year, we have collaborated on over 40 live stream partnerships and we will continue to bring the best live content to our customers around the world. In Q1 2017, we aired more than 800 hours of live stream content from over 400 events across sports, news, politics and entertainment.”

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