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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The NFL and Amazon said Wednesday that they have renewed their streaming partnership for Thursday Night Football games and added the exclusive TV rights to an additional Saturday game late in the season.

Why it matters: The deal shows Amazon's commitment to accessing live sports rights as it continues to build out its media business. It also shows the NFL's push to make sure its games are watched by as many people as possible — particularly younger audiences that are migrating away from live sports on traditional TV.

Details: The deal gives Amazon Prime subscribers and Twitch users around the world access to the 11 Thursday night games on mobile or smart TVs — as well as exclusive global access to the additional Saturday game.

  • Fox owns the television broadcast rights to Thursday night games.
  • The Saturday game will be made available on over-the-air television in the participating teams' home markets.
  • CNBC reports that the NFL's current broadcast partners — CBS, NBC and FOX — will produce the Saturday game for Amazon.

The big picture: Amazon and the NFL's original Thursday night deal in 2017 was worth around $50 million. In 2018, the two groups re-upped their deal for two more seasons (2018 and 2019) to a reported value of $65 million per season.

  • This deal is reportedly worth more than the previous agreement, per CNBC.

Be smart: For decades, TV networks have naturally secured exclusive sports rights, because it was hard for streaming platforms to prove they had the reliability and reach.

  • But leagues are beginning to seriously consider giving tech companies the rights to distribute their games, given their scale and their access to younger audiences.
  • Currently, like with this deal, leagues still feel more comfortable splitting their rights between TV networks and tech platforms.

Go deeper

Aug 6, 2020 - Sports

Where college football's biggest conferences stand on playing amid the pandemic

Division I college football is trudging ahead amid the pandemic.

Driving the news: Every Power Five league plans to play conference-only schedules (two minor exceptions aside) beginning as early as Sept. 5, with championship games slated for mid-December.

LeBron James on Trump NBA protest remarks: "We could care less"

The Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James kneels during the national anthem before the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on Wednesday. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

LeBron James responded on Wednesday night to President Trump's comments calling NBA players "disgraceful" for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and that he won't watch games if they knelt.

The big picture: Trump has repeatedly criticized sports players for taking the knee since 2016. But James said during a news conference, "I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game." November's elections marked "a big moment for us as Americans," he said. "If we continue to talk about, 'We want better, we want change,' we have an opportunity to do that," he added. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said the league will "respect peaceful protest."

Go deeper: LeBron James forms voting rights group to inspire Black voters

48 mins ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.