NFL going with Amazon again for ‘Thursday Night Football,’ renews streaming deal for two years

NFL going with Amazon again for ‘Thursday Night Football,’ renews streaming deal for two years

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Amazon’s first Thursday Night Football stream plays on its website homepage in September. (Screenshot via Amazon)

While National Football League teams have made the usual offseason changes aimed at improving their competitive chances next season, the league itself is staying with one big player — Amazon.

The NFL announced Thursday that it had reached an agreement to once again partner with Amazon Prime Video for streaming rights to “Thursday Night Football.” The tech giant will stream 11 games (broadcast by FOX) to a global audience during both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Last season marked the first year of the streaming partnership between the league and Seattle-based Amazon, which took the reigns after Twitter’s one-year shot at the effort. Last year’s deal was for a reported $50 million, and rumblings on Thursday indicated that the NFL may have upped that price as competition from other services such as YouTube and Facebook was strong.

Amazon re-ups NFL Thursday night streaming deal for 2018, 2019. Slightly surprising – figured league would want a new partner, and YouTube is very interested in live sports.

— Peter Kafka (@pkafka) April 26, 2018

Looks like same deal as before (though I assume NFL will have extracted some kind of rate increase) – games streamed to Prime members worldwide. One new tweak – will also be available (presumably for free) to Twitch users. https://t.co/xCHG4hBpZR

— Peter Kafka (@pkafka) April 26, 2018

Had heard from a few folks over the last few months that YouTube was a strong contender for this deal. Also a little surprised the NFL went back to Amazon. https://t.co/XMI2VIbYAC

— Kurt Wagner (@KurtWagner8) April 26, 2018

Surprising in that many thought NFL would continue its digital speed dating after previously working with Amazon and Twitter. Plenty of other potential parties inc YouTube and Facebook. But NFL staying w Amazon for this for next 2 years. https://t.co/alDerAndeQ

— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) April 26, 2018

“Amazon was a tremendous partner for ‘Thursday Night Football’ in 2017 and as we continue our mission of delivering NFL games to fans whether they watch on television or on digital platforms, we are excited to work with them again for the next two seasons,” Brian Rolapp, chief media and business officer for the NFL, said in a news release.

PREVIOUSLY: Future of live sports? How Amazon streamed NFL games to 200 countries and 600 types of devices

Amazon will deliver to more than 100 million Amazon Prime members worldwide in over 200 countries and territories, on the Prime Video app for TVs, game consoles, and connected devices, which includes Amazon Fire TV, mobile devices and online.

Across 10 games last season when GeekWire checked in on the technology behind the effort, Amazon attracted more than 17 million viewers, or an average of 1.7 million per game.

Games will also be available to Twitch viewers, the live-streaming interactive video platform that is a subsidiary of Amazon.

Amazon also partners with the NFL for the Prime original series “All or Nothing,” which is produced by NFL Films. The third season of the docuseries will launch on Friday with a closer look at the Dallas Cowboys.

Amazon’s first “Thursday Night Football” game of the upcoming season will be during week four when the Los Angeles Rams host the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 27. Games kick off at 8:20 p.m. ET.

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