Amazon Inks $50M Deal for NFL Thursday Night Football Streaming Rights

Amazon has won the battle to live stream 10 of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football games this season by inking a reportedly $50 million, 1-year deal that supplants last year’s TNF streaming partner Twitter. The games will be streamed exclusively to Amazon Prime subscribers and, as part of the league’s “Tri-Cast” model, will also be broadcast on CBS and NBC (five games each), as well as simulcast on NFL Network. CBS and NBC will continue to team with NFL Network to produce the live games, as well as pre- and post-game programming. 

Amazon outbid Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for the TNF streaming rights and the deal marks a substantial increase over Twitter $10 for the same package last year. According to Recode, Amazon will stream the networks’ coverage, including their ads though Amazon will have the rights to sell a handful of ad slots per game.

The league’s announcement notes that the TNF games will be made available to the tens of millions of Amazon Prime members worldwide, on the Amazon Prime Video app for TVs, game consoles, set top boxes and connected devices, which includes Amazon Fire TV, mobile devices and online. The TNF games will also be available to Prime Video members internationally in over 200 countries.

“We are continually looking for ways to deliver our games to fans wherever they watch, whether on television or on digital platforms and we are thrilled to bring Thursday Night Football to Amazon,” Brian Rolapp, Chief Media and Business Officer for the NFL, said in a statement. “As has been the case with all our streaming initiatives, we look forward to continuing to innovate with our partners as we learn the best ways to serve our fans both this season and into the future.”

“Our focus is on bringing customers the best premium video programming, when and how they want to watch it.  Streaming Thursday Night Football on Prime Video is a great step for us toward that vision, and offers tremendous new value for Prime members around the world,” added Jeff Blackburn, SVP, Business Development & Entertainment, Amazon. “And we’re thrilled to extend our ongoing content relationship with the NFL – the gold standard for sports entertainment – on behalf of our Prime customers.”

The deal marks Amazon’s most significant push yet into live sports after hiring Jim DeLorenzo last March to launch its sports division. In addition, the NFL and Amazon renewed a deal for the NFL Films-produced docuseries “All or Nothing”. The second season will go behind the scenes with the Los Angeles Rams.

Last year’s Twitter’s TNF streams averaged 265,000 viewers per minute. In 2015, the NFL streamed a game from London on Yahoo.

CBS and NBC are currently in the second year of a two-year deal to broadcast five Thursday Night Football games apiece. All TNF broadcast games in 2017 will continue to be simulcast on NFL Network, which will also exclusively televise an eight-game schedule of regular season games comprised of Thursday Night Football, late-season games on Saturday, and additional games to be determined.