Amazon is going deep in its relationship with the National Football League, signing on for a new 11-year deal that will make Prime Video the exclusive home of “Thursday Night Football.”
The move was announced Thursday as part of the NFL’s long-term broadcast agreements, running from the 2023 to 2033 seasons.
The new deal, alongside agreements with Fox, NBC, CBS and ESPN, is the NFL’s first all-digital pact with a media partner and reports put a hefty price tag on Amazon’s commitment. Sportico reported that Amazon effectively doubled the $660 million Fox was paying for “TNF” and will pay $1.3 billion a year, or $14.5 billion over the length of the deal. CNBC also cited sources putting the figure at about $1 billion a year.
Amazon first took over streaming rights for “TNF” from Twitter in 2017, paying $50 million back then. Last year the tech giant and the league announced a renewal of that partnership, which brought 11 games broadcast by Fox on television to an audience watching on Prime Video and Amazon-owned Twitch across a variety of sites, apps and devices.
Amazon has previously boasted that its streaming games were available to 150 million paid Prime members in more than 200 countries.
Amazon said in a news release that Prime Video will deliver new pre-game, half-time, and post-game shows, and it will continue to offer fan-favorite interactive features like X-Ray and Next Gen Stats, for a customizable viewing experience. As part of the deal, Prime Video also secured rights to a weekly slate of original NFL programming and expanded rights to in-game highlights for all NFL matchups.
Sportico speculated on whether Amazon will outsource production of its games or whether Prime Video will build a team from the ground up.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that Amazon will enable the league to grow its fanbase “in innovative and compelling ways.”
“NFL games are the most watched live programming in the United States, and this unprecedented ‘Thursday Night Football’ package gives tens of millions of new and existing Prime members exclusive access to must-watch live football on Prime Video,” Mike Hopkins, SVP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said in a statement.
Each “TNF” game will also be televised in the participating teams’ home marketplaces, in keeping with the NFL’s long-standing commitment to make its games available on free, over-the-air television.
Beyond broadcasting, Amazon’s relationship with the NFL extends to the league’s use of Amazon Web Services as its official cloud and machine learning provider. Next Gen Stats provide real-time location, speed, and acceleration data for every player during every play.
A bigger push into NFL broadcasting and the 11 million or so viewers who regularly watched “Thursday Night Football” on TV is sure to further boost Amazon’s surging advertising business, which has become the tech giant’s fastest growing business segment.