Amazon considers $ 1 billion NFL payment for exclusive rights to some Thursday night games

The National football league and Amazon are in talks for the e-commerce giants streaming service, Prime Video, to exclusively broadcast several Thursday night football games, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

The deal, if done, could cost the tech giant $ 1 billion per season.

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Amazon has owned the streaming rights to Thursday Night Football since 2017 for a reported rights fee of $ 75 million per season. These games were, however, shared with other NFL TV broadcast partners. If Amazon and the NFL strike the deal, the agreed-upon Thursday night games would not be available on traditional television, except in the local markets of the two playing teams. A similar arrangement is in place for “Monday Night Football” which airs on cable ESPN.

Amazon last year extended its Thursday night deal and, as part of that deal, was granted exclusive national rights to a Saturday game. On December 26, Amazon broadcast the Week 16 game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals. The current agreement to share Thursday’s TV shows and the only Saturday exclusive game spans the 2022 season. The new agreement would take effect when the current contract is concluded.

Fox Corporation, the parent company of Fox Business, acquired the rights to broadcast “Thursday Night Football” from 2018. The current contract also continues until the 2022 season.

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Representatives for the NFL and Amazon declined to comment.

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

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There is still a risk for Amazon. The Wall Street Journal reported that exclusive December Saturday with the 49ers and Cardinals drew an average audience of less than five million people. According to Hollywood journalist, games on CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC and the league-owned NFL network – have 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 be in place as early as next week, with TV networks having to pay up to double their current rates for the deals. Sunday and Monday deductibles which are likely to last up to 11 years.


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