Amazon foresees a $ 1 billion payment from the NFL for exclusive rights to some Thursday night games


The National Football League and Amazon are in talks to have e-commerce giant Prime Video’s streaming service carry several Thursday Night Football games exclusively, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.

The deal, if a deal is struck, could cost the tech giant a billion dollars per season.

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Amazon has held the streaming rights to Thursday Night Football since 2017 for a reported rights fee of $ 75 million per season. However, those games have been shared with other NFL television broadcast partners. If Amazon and the NFL make this deal, Thursday night’s agreed-upon games will not be available on traditional television, with the exception of the local markets of the two teams playing. A similar arrangement exists for “Monday Night Football” which airs on ESPN via cable.

Last year, Amazon extended its Thursday night deal and, as part of that deal, obtained exclusive national rights to a game on Saturday. On December 26, Amazon broadcast the week 16 matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals. The current agreement to share Thursday’s broadcasts and the only exclusive game on Saturday runs through the 2022 season. The new agreement would reportedly go into effect upon completion of the current contract.

Fox Corporation, the parent company of Fox Business, acquired the broadcast rights to “Thursday Night Football” beginning in 2018. The current contract also runs through the 2022 season.

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Representatives for the NFL and Amazon declined to comment.

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Despite the strong ratings for “Thursday Night Football,” the high price tag has made things difficult for NFL television partners in the age of fragmented television audiences. But the potential $ 1 billion price tag would be easy for Amazon, which last year saw its market capitalization hit $ 1.5 trillion.

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Still, there is a risk for Amazon. The Wall Street Journal reported that Saturday’s December exclusive with the 49ers and Cardinals drew an average audience of less than five million. According to The Hollywood Reporter, games on CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC and the league-owned NFL Network averaged 14.9 million viewers. “Thursday Night Football” on Fox and NFL Network drew 11.89 million viewers.

Meanwhile, broadcast rights deals with Fox, Comcast’s NBC, ViacomCBS, and Walt Disney Company’s ESPN could go into effect next week, with broadcasters expected to pay up to double their current rates for the streaming deals franchise on Sundays and Mondays which is likely to last up to 11 years.

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