You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NFL Thursday Night Digital Rights: Amazon, YouTube, Twitter, Verizon Again at Bidding Table

The usual tech suspects are looking to snag the NFL’s digital-streaming rights for “Thursday Night Football” for upcoming seasons, with Amazon, Google’s YouTube, Verizon and Twitter each on the short list of bidders, sources confirmed.

The NFL is looking to cut a streaming deal for as long as five years for the “TNF” digital rights, as first reported by Bloomberg. The league sees value in carving up the 11-game Thursday night set — in addition to the five-year Fox broadcast deal it struck last month — with a global digital distributor that can enhance the telecasts with social extensions and interactive overlays, to reach younger audiences.

Twitter, Amazon and YouTube have been in the “Thursday Night Football” bidding mix for the last several years. Verizon also is looking to nab global digital multiplatform rights to the Thursday games, as first reported by Recode; that comes after the telco inked a five-year pact for nonexclusive U.S. mobile rights to stream NFL regular- and post-season games.

Facebook, which has bid for NFL live games in the past, earlier dropped out of the latest cycle of “Thursday Night Football” negotiators.

Amazon won the “Thursday Night Football” digital derby last season, after Twitter had them a year earlier. Amazon’s Prime Video drew 18.4 million total viewers in 224 countries and territories for the NFL games. Amazon’s average-minute audience watching the NFL games for at least 30 seconds topped 310,000, 17% higher than Twitter’s results the season prior.

The talks for ancillary “TNF” digital rights continue after Fox reached a five-year deal last month with the league for the Thursday night package, under which it is said to be paying more than $650 million per year.

According to the NFL, Amazon’s Prime Video streaming in 2017 boosted overall consumption of “TNF” by about 2.5%. “In a world where people are trying to drive as much incremental consumption as possible, this is a small but growing asset for us,” NFL senior VP of digital media Vishal Shah said at an industry conference last fall.

The NFL, Amazon, YouTube, Twitter and Verizon declined to comment on the latest “TNF” bidding.

The jockeying for “Thursday Night Football” streaming rights is a microcosm of the larger incursion by technology companies into the sports-media world. Observers expect that within a few years, a major streaming platform will steal a bucket of premium rights from a TV broadcaster. That hasn’t happened yet, but digital players have been nibbling around the edges. Last month, YouTube TV struck a deal with Los Angeles Football Club for exclusive L.A.-area broadcast rights, a Major League Soccer expansion team that will begin competing in the 2018 season.

More Digital


    Dax Shepard, Bobby Bones, 'Breakfast Club' Among iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Winners

    iHeartRadio launched its first ever Podcast Awards on Friday (January 18) in Los Angeles. Among the winners in 22 categories were “Whine Down with Jana Kramer” (Best Entertainment TV Podcast); “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard (Breakout Podcast); “Bobbycast” (Music Podcast); and “The Breakfast Club” (Best Multicultural Podcast). The winners were determined by iHeartRadio listeners. Taking the top prize of Podcast [...]

  • Velvet Buzzsaw trailer

    Netflix Original Movies: What to Look Forward To in 2019

    Following the biggest fourth-quarter worldwide subscriber gain ever and some controversy around increased prices in the U.S., Netflix looks to keep its momentum going into 2019. From Jan. 18 through March, the streaming site will release 10 original films, including action-packed thrillers, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi, quirky comedies, inspirational dramas, an artistic horror movie and a viral [...]

  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week

    Imagine's Documentary Arm Sets First-Look Pact With Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries has set a first-look pact with Apple to develop non-fiction features and series. The deal comes as Imagine is investing heavily in the premium non-fiction arena. The company in June recruited RadicalMedia veteran Justin Wilkes to head Imagine Documentaries as president. The deal suggests that Apple sees docu [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Release of Docs to Reveal How Facebook Made Money Off Children

    Documents related to a 2012 lawsuit against Facebook in which children, sometimes unwittingly, spent their parents’ money on games via the social site will be unsealed, according to a Monday ruling from the United States District Court. The court gave Facebook ten days to file unredacted documents in accordance with the ruling. The 2012 lawsuit [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Sets Up New Product Group for AR Glasses (Report)

    Facebook has restructured its augmented and virtual reality research division and set up a new group tasked with building augmented reality (AR) glasses, according to a new Business Insider report. Facebook acknowledged the move in a statement given to the publication, saying that the move affected “a few hundred people.” The group has already built [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content