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

  • splice

    Splice Raises $57.5 Million in Latest Funding Round

    Splice, a favorite of music creators that allows access to a library of three million rights-cleared sounds, announced today that the company closed a Series C funding round at $57.5 million. That brings Splice’s total amount raised to roughly $102 million since its launch in 2013. It raised a Series B in November of 2017. [...]

  • Facebook's 'Red Table Talk' Garners Daytime

    Facebook's 'Red Table Talk' Garners Daytime Emmy Nomination

    Facebook is now in the awards hunt: Its popular original series “Red Table Talk” hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith was nominated for a 2019 Daytime Emmy. It appears to be the first-ever Daytime Emmy Awards nomination for a Facebook-funded show, although a company rep was unable to confirm that. “Red Table Talk” is nominated in [...]

  • MLB-TV

    MLB.TV Joins Lineup on Amazon's Prime Video Channels

    Amazon has launched MLB.TV on Prime Video Channels for Prime members in the U.S., just in time for the start of Major League Baseball’s 2019 regular season start next week. The MLB.TV package provides regular-season out-of-market baseball games, both live and on-demand. Prime members in the U.S. can subscribe to MLB.TV for $24.99 per month, [...]

  • Tencent Music Shares Drop Despite Solid

    Tencent Music Shares Drop Despite Solid First Earnings Report

    Proving that good is not always good enough, Tencent Music Entertainment shares fell 9 percent after the Chinese company released its 2018 earnings, wiping out $2.7 billion in market capitalization of what is arguably the biggest audio music service in the world. Chalk it up to big expectations and a short track record: Wednesday’s earnings [...]

  • PewDiePie - YouTube

    PewDiePie vs. T-Series: YouTube Channels Keep Battling for No. 1 Spot

    UPDATED, 3/21: The back-and-forth battle for YouTube’s No. 1 spot continues. T-Series on Thursday again pulled ahead of YouTube’s PewDiePie as the No. 1 most-subscribed channel on the platform — coming a day after T-Series briefly topped the vlogger-gamer-comedian and renewing fans’ support him. In a months-long symbolic running battle for the title, PewDiePie and his [...]

  • Netflix to Test Special Video Previews

    Netflix Will Test Character-Driven Video Previews for Its Kids Content

    Netflix is getting ready to try a new thing to help younger viewers discover new shows: The video service will start testing character-driven video previews of some of its shows later this year, executives revealed during a press event in Los Angeles Tuesday. The test, which will be rolled out on some members’ TV devices [...]

  • Epic Games Unveils $100 Million 'MegaGrants'

    Epic Games Unveils $100 Million 'MegaGrants' for Film, Game, Other Creators

    Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney kicked off the company’s annual Game Developers Conference keynote with some big news for creators: a commitment to hand out $100 million to game makers, film and TV creators, students, educators, tool developers, essentially anyone working to enhance 3D graphics and inspire creativity. The Epic MegaGrants is an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content