Amazon extends Thursday night deal with NFL, gets exclusive Saturday game

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At a time when the pandemic is impacting certain aspects of the NFL’s business, it’s not keeping the NFL from doing business.

The league announced on Wednesday morning an extension of its deal with Amazon to stream 11 Thursday night games per season. The arrangement now includes a late-season Saturday game that will be streamed exclusively by Amazon.

“In keeping with the NFL’s long-standing commitment to make its games available on free, over-the-air television, the game will also be televised in the participating teams’ home markets,” the league said in the statement announcing the deal.

That portion of the statement states a lot. At a time when some wonder whether the NFL will be moving its product to platforms that aren’t free, the league understands the importance of keeping certain games free. Whether to maximize the audience for a prime-time game or to avoid a revolt (and a threat to the broadcast antirust exemption) when fans have no way of watching their local teams play without paying for it, the league will keep putting games on free, three-letter networks.

That said, an Amazon-only game is destined to have poor numbers. In 2017, the league streamed a Ravens-Jaguars game in London exclusively on Yahoo — and the ratings were so bad that the NFL never revealed them.

The balance for the league becomes revenue versus exposure. Sometimes, the NFL will take more money knowing that a given game will be seen by fewer people. And that definitely will happen when a game can be watched only on a premium platform that currently costs $119 per year.

The new Amazon deal lasts through 2022, which puts the Thursday night streaming rights in play for the next wave of broadcast-rights negotiations. With 17 regular-season games coming in 2021, games available exclusively on streaming platforms could become a regular facet of the weekly NFL schedule.

16 responses to “Amazon extends Thursday night deal with NFL, gets exclusive Saturday game

  1. More and more folks are cutting cable and solely streaming. The NFL needs to catch up and set up streaming options for EVERY game.

  2. “At a time when some wonder whether the NFL will be moving its product to platforms that aren’t free, the league understands the importance of keeping certain games free.”

    Given the vast majority of the stadiums were built with largely public money under an agreement made while games are broadcast to local markets for free, the league would be facing massive lawsuits from every city that they got public money for a stadium for if they try to go to all pay per view. That would be disastrous for the league to try that

  3. Soon, no pro games will be on “free” TV and I will stop watching them all once that happens.

  4. That is one game that I will not be watching.
    No big deal.
    I seldom watch any Thursday games as it is
    And Monday Night Football ends after I fall asleep.

  5. Ratings for a future “Amazon only” game will be much better than in 2017. I believe this will be largely due to the fact that Amazon Prime video is integrated into the operating platforms of Comcast, Charter and other major video service providers.

    Football fans will just need to go the the “App” section on their cable boxes and click on Amazon Prime.

  6. Do the Panthers play the Jags or Cincy?

    This game will not invoke two historic or currently good franchises.

  7. Think its time to get rid of the sunday ticket or reduce prices drastically cause people arent using it very much anymore

  8. I don’t know why the NFL doesn’t let you buy single games that happen at 1 PM. I know so many people who would pay 20 dollars or more for an HD stream of an out of town game.

  9. How about the ability to purchase Red Zone separately? Maybe just $9.99 a week A La Carte to watch a full day’s action. That would bring in a lot of coin IMO.

  10. cmphillyeagles
    One word for you. Illegal. Theft of services by the people running the IPTV streams that they steal from legit providers.

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