Amazon Scores With Live-Streaming Rights For NFL "TNF" Package
Amazon will replace Twitter in live-streaming the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football.” The company will livestream the 10 “TNF” games carried by CBS and NBC as part of a one-year deal that the league announced late Tuesday. Amazon paid $50M for the rights, substantially more than the $10M that Twitter paid for “TNF” streaming rights last season. Amazon beat out Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for the rights, and the deal marks the biggest win for Jim DeLorenzo since he joined Amazon last March to head up the company’s sports division and pick up live sports rights. Amazon has wanted to put sports rights on its Amazon Prime video service, and the NFL deal will allow the company to do that, essentially putting the streams behind a paywall where they will only be available to Amazon Prime subscribers. The NFL already has an existing deal with Amazon for the series “All or Nothing,” which is produced by NFL Films. The NFL wanted to finalize a deal in the spring to give Amazon a chance to sell advertising around it. Amazon’s deal ends Twitter’s one-year run with the league. Both Twitter and NFL executives say they were happy with the streams, which averaged 265,000 viewers on an average minute basis during the season. Twitter was especially happy that the deal allowed it to increase its distribution on connected TVs, while the NFL liked Twitter’s young (70% were under 24 years) and international (25% were from outside the U.S.) audience. But it’s clear that while the NFL was happy with Twitter’s reach, the move to Amazon is largely driven by allowing more digital companies to sample its popular content in the run up to 2021 when its media deals start to expire. When it comes to digital deals like Twitter (2016) and Yahoo (2015), the NFL has opted for shorter deals across multiple platforms as a way to understanding the fast-changing, digital media environment.