- Amazon paid $50 million to win the rights to stream 10 NFL Thursday Night Football games next season, but Bloomberg now reports that the deal was beefed up with an extra $30 million in free marketing and promotion for the sports league. Bloomberg's source requested anonymity due to the private terms of the contract.
- Amazon beat Facebook, YouTube and last year's streaming partner Twitter for the rights to live broadcast the games. Its winning bid was 5x Twitter's $10 million payout from last season, although Twitter was reportedly a low bidder that was ultimately favored by the NFL for its social aspect.
- The Thursday Night Football games will stream exclusively on Amazon's paid Prime video service, and Bloomberg's insider said the NFL promotions will be spread across Amazon's platforms.
Amazon's willingness to build so much free NFL marketing into an already pricey contract shows just how much value the sports league's content has for digital streaming platforms looking to make a dent in the traditional TV arena. The NFL has long been a television powerhouse, consistently commanding some of the biggest ad deals, but slipping ratings and a trend toward cord-cutting mean it's likely starting to eye alternatives on other screens.
Twitter's broadcasting of 10 NFL games last season, while positively received, ultimately looks like more of a trial run than anything, and Amazon shelling out up to 8x more than what Twitter paid for the same package shows just how much the digital streaming space has heated up over the past year.
The NFL’s entire slate of broadcast deals are set to expire in 2022. CBS head Les Moonves has said he expects digital platforms from companies like Amazon to go head-to-head with traditional NFL partners like CBS, NBC, Fox and ESPN in that next round of bidding wars, though he forecasts TV to come out on top.
For Amazon, the deal is a validation of its strategy to increase streaming sports content as well expand the reach of its Prime service, which currently has around 65 million U.S. members. Amazon will have ad inventory to sell during the streamed games and it's expected that at least some of those spots will be used to promote Amazon's original Prime video programming.