Amazon kicks off its Thursday night run of NFL matches again this week, and the online giant is stepping up its game.
Amazon is increasingly pushing into sporting territory, as it seeks to distinguish itself from Netflix and other streaming platforms: in the last year, it has signed a deal for Premier League football from 2019 and has started to stream ATP tennis exclusively, as well as the US Open tennis tournament this summer. NFL, though, was where Amazon began its sporting drive, and this September, Thursday Night Football once again returns to Amazon Prime Video.
For UK subscribers, that means you can stream NFL games live at 1:25am each Friday morning, watching in a variety of languages, including an English language version that focuses on the educational aspects of the game for those who aren’t familiar with American Football jargon.
Amazon is also expanding its NFL presence in the USA, streaming the games on both Amazon Prime Video and Twitch, the gaming platform it snapped up recently.
On Prime Video, Amazon will stream the Fox broadcasts with commentators Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, plus three other audio options: a feed featuring Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm, the first female duo to call NFL games, a Spanish-language version, and the above UK broadcast team. Amazon is also using its X-Ray service on Fire TV devices to display real-time stats, letting users select Game Leaders and Team Stats to track top players. A Play History tab will also let them read details on any plays they missed, along with other facts and trivia. Perhaps most important of all for the e-commerce company, Amazon is giving US viewers the option to shop for official merchandise during the games.
Twitch, meanwhile, will offer commentary from popular Twitch personalities, and introduce NFL Emotes (Twitch’s answer to emojis) in the live Twitch chat, which will include team logos and other football-themed icons. An interactive extension will also incorporate stats for teams in real-time, creating a leaderboard for top performers.
Here’s the line-up of matches over the 2018 season:
Week 4: Thursday 27th September
Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Rams
Week 5: Thursday 4th October
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
Week 6: Thursday 11th October
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Week 7: Thursday 18th October
Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals
Week 8: Thursday 25th October
Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans
Week 9: Thursday 1st November
Oakland Raiders at San Francisco 49ers
Week 10: Thursday 8th November
Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 11: Thursday 15th November
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks
Week 13: Thursday 29th November
New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys
Week 14: Thursday 6th December
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
Week 15: Thursday 13th December
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
Amazon and NFL renew Thursday night football deal
1st May 2018
The National Football League and Amazon are renewing their deal to stream Thursday night football matches live online.
The NFL and Amazon first partnered for distribution of Thursday Night Football during the 2017 season. In January, FOX Sports was awarded a five-year deal for Thursday Night Football that includes games between Weeks 4-15 (excluding Thanksgiving night) to be broadcast on FOX, simulcast via NFL Network and distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes. Now, Amazon and NFL have extended their deal for Amazon Prime Video to stream the 11 Thursday night games broadcast by FOX. The matches will be streamed globally during the 2018 and 2019 seasons, sponsored by Bud Light.
The TNF games will also be available to Twitch viewers, while the NFL and Amazon will additionally collaborate on additional content opportunities and enhanced fan viewing experiences, to provide unique and interactive features that bring fans closer to the game.
“Amazon was a tremendous partner for Thursday Night Football in 2017 and as we continue our mission of delivering NFL games to fans whether they watch on television or on digital platforms, we are excited to work with them again for the next two seasons,” says Brian Rolapp, Chief Media and Business Officer for the NFL. “Having over 100 million Amazon Prime members provides a massive platform to distribute Thursday Night Football digitally, not only to our fans in the United States but also around the world.”
“Our customers love to stream football — last year, we successfully debuted NFL Thursday Night Football on Prime Video in the U.S. and around the world,” adds Jeff Blackburn, Senior Vice President Business Development & Entertainment at Amazon. “We’re thrilled to continue our relationship with the NFL and offer Prime members another two seasons of Thursday Night Football.”
The 2018 Thursday Night Football schedule kicks off Week 2 when the Baltimore Ravens visit the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday 13th September in an AFC North divisional matchup exclusively on NFL Network. The 2018 Thursday Night Football slate of games on FOX/NFL Network/FOX Deportes and Amazon begins Week 4 when the Los Angeles Rams host the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday 27th September in a matchup of two playoff teams from 2017. All Thursday Night Football games will kick off at 8:20 PM ET.
The multiyear deal continues a strong partnership between the NFL and Amazon which, in addition to Thursday Night Football, also features the Emmy-winning Prime Original Series All or Nothing. Produced by NFL Films, Season 3 of the docuseries premiered on Friday 27th April, featuring the Dallas Cowboys.
Amazon NFL Thursday Night games kick off from 28th September
26th September 2017
Thursday Night Football on Amazon kicks off this week, as the online giant continues its push into sporting content.
While Netflix has made a point of staying away from sports, Amazon has embraced the idea of supplementing its original programming with licensed sports, outbidding Sky to snap up the rights to ATP Tour tennis. The deal Amazon inked earlier this year with the NFL is therefore a major milestone in the increasingly competitive world of online streaming, although for many UK users, it might go completely unnoticed, as games will be streamed in the wee small hours of the morning.
The first game will be streamed live on Amazon Prime Video late night on 28th September (Week 4: Bears vs. Packers) from 1:25am. Each Thursday Night game thereafter will be available to live stream at the same time. Playback after the game, however, will not be possible.
Amazon is nonetheless making its NFL run as accessible as possible: members will be able to enjoy each Thursday Night game in a variety of languages, as Amazon is producing live audio tracks for non-English speaking viewers (and even those who speak English but may not be familiar with football).
Amazon Prime Video will stream 11 NFL games in total this season, including 10 Thursday Night games broadcast by the NFL Network, CBS and NBC, plus the NFL Network Special Christmas Day game also broadcast by NBC.
Amazon signs $50m deal for Thursday night NFL
5th April 2017
Amazon has signed a new $50 million deal to stream NFL games on Thursday nights.
The agreement will see the streaming service air 10 National Football League matches live this season. Amazon has confirmed to Bloomberg and other publications that it has secured the streaming rights, but has not commented further or officially announced whether the the deal will extend to the UK and other countries or whether it will just be available in the USA.
Nonetheless, the deal is big step for the service: it sees Amazon trump Twitter, which signed a similar deal for the Thursday night games last year – a deal that formed a major part of the social network’s push to position itself as video platform.
Figures obtained by Variety last year found that Twitter racked up 2.1 million unique viewers to watch its first NFL game, when the New York Jets played the Buffalo Bills – a game that was won 37 to 31. That figure, though, compared to 15.4 million TV viewers on the CNS and NFL Network. Nonetheless, 243,000 people tuned in on average per minute via Twitter, watching 22 minutes of the game.
On the back of its NFL signing, Twitter signed over 40 different partnerships to stream sports, business news and other video live to users. With the contract already pinched within 12 months, though, it’s a sign of how difficult it can be to build a presence using annual contracts – indeed, rights to films and TV shows regularly switch between streaming services.
“The NFL was a great partner to launch our strategy and we will continue to work with them to bring great content to our passionate sports fans,” Twitter said in a statement.
The NFL, meanwhile, continues to position itself as a figure with some clout in the US streaming world, with short-term digital agreements part of the league’s ongoing online strategy, as it prepares for 2021, when its traditional broadcast deals begin to expire, and when digital firms will likely be significant rival bidders to networks such as CBS.
Indeed, Amazon and NFL already have a relationship, with this week’s deal coming hot on the heels of the renewal of Amazon’s All or Nothing NFL docu-series (pictured above) for a second season. You can read more about that here.