Amazon has been spending millions of dollars recently to increase their video content library, and now they’ve made their biggest purchase yet. According to recent reports, Amazon paid nearly $50 million for the rights to stream Thursday Night Football in the 2017-2018 season.
The NFL tested live streaming Thursday night games last season on Twitter, and it seems like an experiment that went well, with millions of people watching each week. Twitter only paid about $10 million for last year’s rights, but it looks like Amazon thinks it’s worth much more. By all accounts, Twitter was happy with their NFL live streaming deal, but they weren’t quite willing to pay as much as Amazon was.
When Twitter live streamed games last season, the stream was open to anyone – even people without a Twitter account. But for Amazon, customers will be required to have a Prime account. In addition to Prime subscriptions, Amazon also plans to run as on the bottom of the screen. Thursday night games will still air on either NBC or CBS, but as far as online streaming goes, Amazon is it.
Amazon seems to be interested in the NFL as of late, as they just ordered a second season of their show All or Nothing that follows the Los Angeles Rams’ return to LA.
The rights to Thursday Night Football is a fairly big deal for Amazon, as it’s usually pretty tough to get rights for a major sporting event. For the most part, major sports leagues like the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL all have their television rights locked down for many years. Thursday Night Football was the highest profile sports package available, which could explain why Amazon decided to invest.
When several of the world’s biggest companies are bidding on streaming rights to sports, you know it’s a market with some serious potential. As more people look to cut cable, streaming options are only going to become more popular.