Before the next wave of TV deals will be negotiated, the NFL will surely be doing its biggest deal yet in the environment where much of what used to be viewed on TV is now being consumed.
Via NBCNews.com, the NFL could move its out-of-market streaming rights to Amazon or Disney. Amazon already streams Thursday Night Football, and Disney would surely love to boost the offerings of its in-house streaming service, ESPN+.
Recent tensions have emerged between the NFL and AT&T, which has purchased DirecTV. Meanwhile, ESPN has worked hard to rebuild bridges to 345 Park Avenue, and Amazon has become a behemoth in the streaming/sales space. Its value comes from the merger of viewing preferences and purchase habits, enabling Amazon to tailor commercials to viewers, who can make a purchase with the click of a button while otherwise watching a game.
Per the report, the NFL also has considered Google and Netflix for a streaming deal. The former has been “on and off”; the latter has never shown interest.
AT&T abruptly dropped NFL Network from Uverse and DirecTV now this week, while keeping NFLN in the DirecTV lineup. This development surely doesn’t make it more likely that DirecTV and the NFL will renew its longstanding arrangement, which began in 1994.
It’s possible that, in the end, DirecTV will keep the satellite rights while another company assumes the streaming of the games, allowing people in rural areas that lack high-speed Internet access to continue to watch all Sunday afternoon games and giving the NFL a potent double-dip with big fees both from DirecTV and a new streaming partner.