Amazon NFL Thursday Night games kick off from 28th September
VOD News | On 26, Sep 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.