The one-year pact is valued at around $50 million, according to a source close to the situation. Twitter had streaming rights to the games in the 2016 season, the first time the league cut a rights deal for a package of games with an online-only partner.
The 2017 NFL games will be available to Amazon Prime subscribers, on the Amazon Prime Video app for TVs, game consoles, set-top boxes and connected devices. The “TNF” games will also be available to Prime Video members internationally in over 200 countries.
[UPDATE, April 5: The NFL and Amazon officially announced the pact on Wednesday. “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,” said Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s chief media and business officer. Amazon’s Jeff Blackburn, SVP of business development and entertainment, commented, “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.”]
Amazon’s rights fee is said to be about five times the price paid for the 2016 package by Twitter. The deal came together quickly in recent days, with a source noting that Amazon aggressively pursued the package.
The TV rights to the 10 “Thursday Night Football” games are split evenly between CBS and NBC, with the NFL Network cabler also getting simulcasts of the games. In early 2016, CBS and NBC inked a two-year deal for “Thursday Night Football” TV rights at an estimated cost of about $225 million for each network.
The new streaming rights pact comes as the NFL and its TV partners are looking to overhaul the on-air presentation of games, the placement of commercial breaks and aspects of game play designed to speed up the action on the gridiron. Last year, Twitter picked up the game feeds produced by CBS and NBC. It’s unclear if that will change in the Amazon deal.
Over the 10 NFL games to which it had streaming rights last season, Twitter averaged 2.7 million viewers who tuned in for at least three seconds of a given telecast, according to data released by the league. That translated to 265,800 viewers on a per-minute basis.
Amazon already is in business with the NFL on “All or Nothing,” an unscripted series chronicling the return of the Rams NFL franchise to Los Angeles after 20-plus years in St. Louis. The series was renewed for a second season last week.