Amazon bought the rights to ten Thursday night National Football League (NFL) games that it intends to broadcast later this year once the 2017 NFL season kicks off in September, sources with knowledge of the matter told Recode. The Seattle-based tech giant reportedly paid five times more than Twitter did last year when the social network acquired the rights to broadcast the very same NFL games. Other than a significant increase in value, the new deal between Amazon and the NFL is said to be relatively similar to the one Twitter signed in early 2016. As NBC and CBS have the rights to broadcast five Thursday night NFL games each, Amazon will simply carry their programming and stream it to its own customers, meaning the company will broadcast the very same streams NBC and CBS will, advertising included. Sources with knowledge of the deal claim Amazon will have “a handful” of its own ad slots per each game that it will be able to sell, but the majority of related advertising won’t be managed by the company.
The Seattle-based company reportedly still isn’t sure how many of its ad slots will be sold, as Amazon is apparently looking to use at least a portion of the slots to promote its own video products and services, the report reveals. In addition to Amazon, Thursday night NFL games will also be streamed by Verizon as the largest wireless carrier in the country previously secured the rights to broadcast the games to its subscribers. Twitter reportedly also showed interest into renewing its last year’s streaming deal with the NFL, though no agreement has been reached so far. Other parties that are allegedly interested in carrying Thursday night NFL games include Facebook and YouTube, industry sources say.
Regarding Amazon specifically, the company is expected to broadcast the upcoming NFL games to Amazon Prime subscribers free of charge. The firm has yet to disclose how many people are paying for its online video service, though its number of subscribers is likely significantly smaller than 300 million users who were able to watch NFL games on Twitter last year. Regardless, it seems that the NFL now opted to sell its broadcasting rights to a smaller platform, but for a higher price.