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.