The NFL and Amazon have inked a multi-year extension to their Thursday Night Football deal, which sees the digital giant stream 11 fixtures throughout the season, and has added one exclusive game per year.
First signed back in 2017 and extended in 2018, the agreement sees Amazon show the games on digital via Prime Video and Twitch, with Fox retaining broadcast (plus showing in Spanish on Fox Deportes) and NFL Network handling cable.
Amazon will stream the matches in more than 200 countries. Users can choose between the Fox feed or the Fox Deportes Spanish feed, and multiple alternative audio options. Prime has 150 million paid members globally (memberships are not all specific to Prime Video, everyone who signs up for delivery gets access as well).
Additionally and significantly, the new deal sees the streamer add one exclusive regular season game per season, which for 2020/21 will take place on a Saturday in the second half of the league calendar. That game will also be available on free-to-air TV in the participating teams’ local markets, the league noted, as well as the Yahoo Mobile app.
Of course, this is all assuming the season is able to take place as normal. Sports are currently shut down globally due to the coronavirus pandemic and while there is a widespread collective wish to begin returning to regular life, most world leaders are preaching a gradual lifting of restrictions to avoid a second wave of the virus. Large-scale sports matches are likely to be some of the last events to resume. Another of the world’s major sports competitions, the English Premier League, is currently mulling a return without any fans in stadiums, and there have been reports the NBA could also employ a similar model.
Sports fans are clearly yearning for content. The NFL draft, which took place last week, set record viewing figures, despite being broadcast from commissioner Roger Goodell’s basement. A peak of 19.6 million viewers watched Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow go to the Cincinnati Bengals with the first pick.
“As our relationship has expanded, Amazon has become a trusted and valued partner of the NFL,” said Brian Rolapp, Chief Media and Business Officer for the NFL. “Extending this partnership around Thursday Night Football continues our critical mission of delivering NFL games to as many fans in as many ways as possible both in the United States and around the world.”
“We are thrilled to renew our Thursday Night Football deal with the NFL, and are excited to expand our relationship to include exclusive global streaming rights to an additional regular season game in 2020,” said Marie Donoghue, Vice President of Global Sports Video at Amazon. “We know Prime members and the Twitch community around the world love the NFL, and we remain committed to giving them the best and most customizable streaming experience possible, with a broad selection of premium content available at their fingertips.”
Across all of its outlets, Thursday Night Football delivered an average audience of 15.4 million viewers in 2019, up 4% on the season before.
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