Apr 29, 2020 - Economy & Business

NFL grants Amazon exclusive rights for Saturday game in renewed streaming deal

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.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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