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Amazon Gets NFL Thursday Night Football

4 Apr, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Prime Video becomes second subscription streaming video service (after CBS All Access) to land pro sports rights

The National Football League April 4 announced a $50 million, one-year deal with Amazon to stream 10 Thursday night games exclusive for its Prime Video subscribers. Amazon becomes the second SVOD service (after CBS All Access) to acquire rights to a U.S. professional sports league.

NFL, NBA, MLS, MLB and NCAA games are currently available for streaming across proprietary over-the-top video services and third-party online TV platforms, including Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue and Charter Spectrum TV Plus, among others.

“We’re focused on bringing our customers what they want to watch. Prime members want the NFL,” Amazon SVP Jeff Blackburn said in a statement.

Amazon follows Twitter, which last year landed streaming rights to 10 Thursday Night Football games for $10 million. The NFL in 2015 first streamed a regular-season game (from London) on Yahoo. The league has streamed the Super Bowl for years, in addition to licensing exclusive mobile rights to Verizon.

Twitter reportedly averaged about 265,000 viewers per minute for its live-streamed games. NFL Thursday Night Game broadcasts are still available on CBS and NBC, and average about 15 million viewers.

For Amazon, the move separates it from Netflix and Hulu, which have avoided live sports. Netflix has repeatedly denied any interest in professional sports – despite having the fiscal ability to acquire rights. The SVOD pioneer in February did launch “Ultimate Beastmaster,” a reality competition series from Sylvester Stallone featuring contestants from around the world competing on obstacle courses.

Amazon has attempted to acquire sports rights before, including the NBA, MLS and surfing, according to The Wall Street Journal. The SVOD service last year unsuccessfully attempted to acquire rights to professional cricket in India.

Amazon last year launched original series “All or Nothing: A Season With the Arizona Cardinals,” narrated by Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”). The show followed the team’s 2015 season, including the pre-season draft and NFC Championship game. 

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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