Aug 23, 2022 - Technology

DirecTV to air Thursday Night Football games in bars, restaurants

Illustration of a football player with an NFL tag

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

DirecTV, the satellite TV provider that has for years exclusively broadcast the NFL's lucrative Sunday Ticket package, has struck a deal with Amazon Prime Video to air Thursday Night Football games in over 300,000 sports bars, restaurants, hotels and other venues outside of homes.

Why it matters: The deal gives fans the opportunity to watch the games, which are only available via streaming on Amazon Prime Video, in places outside of their homes that may not have smart TVs installed.

Details: DirecTV for business will deliver the 17 games, in conjunction with their pregame, halftime and postgame coverage, to a series of recognized national chains, as well as local bars, casinos and sports books, retail locations, hotels, and more DirecTV said Tuesday.

  • Only venues that have commercial accounts with DirecTV can receive access to the games. The deal does not apply to residential DirecTV subscribers.

Be smart: This season marks the first in NFL history that an entire rights package will be made available exclusively via a streaming platform.

  • While streaming presents enormous opportunities for the industry moving forward, including one day the opportunity to pair programming with things like real-time betting opportunities, it currently presents some risks.
  • Many venues haven't upgraded their television hardware or internet packages to accommodate streaming television. Some venues in places where broadband penetration is still low, may not be able to offer solid streaming access to customers.

The big picture: As more sports rights move to streaming, partnerships with traditional television providers like this one allow leagues to maximize potential viewership.

  • Data suggest that at least 20% of viewers said they watched fall sports exclusively in venues outside of the home in 2019.
  • This month, Amazon struck a three-year deal with the TV measurement provider Nielsen to be included in Nielsen's National TV measurement service, making Amazon the first streaming service to ever have one of its live programs measured as part of Nielsen's National TV measurement service.
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