Amazon Exclusive Streamer for '18, '19 NFL Thursday Night Games
Once again, Amazon has won the exclusive streaming rights for NFL Thursday night games, this time signing on for two more years and beating out Twitter and YouTube. Amazon Prime Video will stream 11 games in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Fox will broadcast the same games, and they'll be available on cable through the NFL Network and Fox Desportes. While neither party disclosed how much Amazon paid for the rights, Amazon is reported to have paid $130 million for the two-year agreement. Amazon paid $50 million for Thursday Night Football last season.
Amazon will offer the games to Amazon Prime subscribers around the world in over 200 countries and territories. The company recently said it has over 100 million paying members. Those members will soon pay a little more, as Amazon announced yesterday it's raising the yearly cost of a Prime membership from $99 to $119 starting June 16.
Amazon's first Thursday night game in the upcoming season will be the Los Angeles Rams-Minnesota Vikings week four game on September 27. The full Thursday night schedule is online.
Besides streaming Thursday night games, Amazon offers the original series "All or Nothing," which is produced by NFL Films. The third season debuts today.
In a letter sent to shareholders last week, Amazon said it attracted over 18 million viewers to its 11 Thursday night games last season.
In February, the NFL announced that Fox paid $3 billion to be the Thursday Night Football broadcast partner for five years. In December, the NFL and Verizon signed a non-exclusive five-year deal that brings NFL in-market and national games to various Verizon mobile properties. That deal is reported to be worth $1.5 billion. And in September the NFL signed a two-year deal with Facebook to deliver video highlights for regular season games, playoff games, and the Super Bowl.
Football fans will be able to view highlights from all regular season and post-season games, plus access original video . For live game streaming, however, they'll need to head to Amazon.
Streaming rates will be highest with young adults, where one-third plan to stream the game. But latency threatens to spoil the fun.
Over 70 percent of Showtime's online subscribers go through Amazon Prime Channels. Amazon has a hit, but Apple is close behind.
Fox wins the right to stream games to mobile phone viewers, but a broader Thursday Night streaming deal is weeks from being decided.
Verizon will stream live NFL games to more destinations, including Yahoo Sports, but will no longer have a mobile exclusive.
Members around the world will be able to watch highlights as soon as a game ends, while U.S. members will be able to watch two NFL original shows.
The war for online rights to Thursday Night Football are over and Amazon has won. But with access limited to Prime subscribers, are fans the losers?