In Surprise Move, Amazon Wins NFL Thursday Night Football Streaming Rights

As the sports world changes to address the digital revolution in streaming video, the NFL has made a surprise move by awarding streaming rights for Thursday Night Football to Amazon.com.

Obviously testing the waters, the NFL committed to only a one-year deal worth about $50 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.

It appears that Thursday Night Football will be available to all Amazon Prime members without additional costs to the estimated 63 million subscribers who pay $99 per year for the streaming service.

“We’re focused on bringing our customers what they want to watch, Prime members want the NFL,” said Jeff Blackburn, senior vice president of business development at Amazon.

The Thursday night games join Amazon’s other NFL offering, the documentary series, “All or Nothing,” which chronicles an NFL team from the draft through the end of the season. Season one of the series followed the Arizona Cardinals in 2015 and last season followed the L.A. Rams.

As part of its new focus on Internet-based services, last year the NFL awarded access to Twitter for a reported $10 million payout.

It still isn’t clear if the move to Twitter has helped the NFL grow its fan base, or even help Twitter grow its own service. Indeed, the numbers show that the NFL didn’t move the dial too much with just an average of 265,000 viewers per minute, according to AdWeek. The statistics on Twitter compare badly to the 15.4 million football viewers on CBS.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.


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