Amazon in talks with NFL for exclusive game streaming rights

$1bn per season contract on the table, say sources

Amazon is in talks with the National Football League (NFL) for exclusive rights to Thursday games starting in 2023.

Amazon already streams NFL games, but the new deal would see traditional TV broadcast of the games stopped for all but the local TV provider of the teams (The NFL wants the Thursday night games to be broadcast on local TV in each of the participating teams’ home markets). 

If the deal is agreed, it could cost the tech giant $1bn (£724m, €838m) per season.

The talks are ongoing and no decision has been announced.

The NFL Network, which is usually packaged as part of expensive pay-TV bundles, has requirements with pay-TV distributors to carry a certain number of games exclusively. 

The league is still considering proposals to broadcast Amazon’s Thursday games on the NFL Network or to split Thursday’s games between Amazon and the NFL Network, sources said.

There's speculation that Amazon won’t pay anywhere near $1bn for a full package of games that aren’t entirely exclusive. 

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The deal would add onto Amazon’s three-year deal with the NFL to broadcast 12 Thursday games in the 2020, 2021 and 2022 seasons on its Prime Video streaming service. 

That current deal allows Amazon to broadcast one game exclusively each season. This past year, it was a Week 16 game between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers. 

Fox’s Thursday night football deal expires in 2022 and won’t be bought out early, according to people familiar with the matter.

The NFL is also close to securing agreements with its current TV partners; Disney, which owns ESPN and ABC; ViacomCBS; Comcast’s NBCUniversal, and Fox for Sunday and Monday night packages.

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