The National Football League renewed its pact with Amazon for two more years to deliver the league’s “Thursday Night Football” games package to the ecommerce giant’s 100 million Prime video members worldwide.
Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Amazon is paying the NFL $65 million per year under the pact, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources. Amazon was widely reported to have paid $50 million for the 2017 “TNF” package, but sources have said that number is inflated.
Amazon Prime will stream the 11 “TNF” games broadcast by Fox on TV for each of the 2018 and 2019 seasons, available to customers in more than 200 countries and territories. In the U.S., the games will also be simulcast on NFL Network and distributed in Spanish on Fox Deportes.
One interesting new wrinkle: Amazon-owned Twitch will also live-stream the “Thursday Night Football” games, free to anyone to watch on the platform, according to a Twitch rep. The league and Amazon said they plan to create “enhanced fan-viewing experiences” for the games including on Twitch.
Amazon acquired the “Thursday Night Football” global digital rights in 2017, after Twitter had those the year prior. Last year, Prime Video’s live-streaming of NFL “Thursday Night Football” games drew more than 18 million total viewers over the 11 games.
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“Our customers love to stream football,” said Jeff Blackburn, SVP of business development and entertainment at Amazon. “We’re thrilled to continue our relationship with the NFL and offer Prime members another two seasons of ‘Thursday Night Football.'”
Facebook, which like Amazon has been actively hunting for live sports rights, bowed out of the “TNF” bidding earlier this year. Google’s YouTube and Twitter are believed to have made offers.
Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s chief media and business officer, added, “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.”
As part of its promo efforts last year to drive “TNF” tune-in, Amazon shipped out about 10 million boxes with a football-shaped design in the U.S. for Prime orders.
In addition to “Thursday Night Football,” Amazon Prime Video also is set to bow the third season of NFL Films documentary series “All or Nothing,” featuring the Dallas Cowboys. The first two installments followed the Arizona Cardinals and the L.A. Rams.
In January, Fox Sports inked a five-year deal for “Thursday Night Football” with the league that includes games between weeks 4-15 (excluding Thanksgiving night) to be broadcast on Fox, simulcast via NFL Network and Fox Deportes.
The NFL announced the renewal with Amazon after the ecommerce giant reported first-quarter 2018 earnings that dramatically beat Wall Street expectations, with $51.0 billion in sales and net income more than doubling to $1.6 billion.