The little Lake Union retail shop found $50 million to spend streaming the NFL’s slate of 10 Thursday night game this fall. The same deal last year cost Twitter $10 million.
Amazon is suddenly an NFL player. Not on the field, but in your living room/car/sidewalk or anywhere you have a hankering to watch Russell Wilson run for his life. Seattle’s little retail shop agreed Tuesday to pay $50 million this fall to stream 10 NFL Thursday night games to its Amazon Prime customers.
That was the same streaming content for which Twitter paid $10 million in 2016. So much for the NFL’s alleged plateauing in popularity. And so much for Seahawks CB Richard Sherman’s campaign to bargain away the Thursday games because of consequences to player health.
The TNF package was awarded to Amazon after the company outbid Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, according to the Sports Business Journal.
The games will also be available on NFL Network as well as NBC (five games) and CBS (five games). Both networks will also be allowed to stream the games, so Amazon didn’t pay for exclusive rights.
According to SBJ, the deal marks the biggest win for James DeLorenzo since he joined Amazon in March from SI.com to head up the company’s sports division and pick up live sports rights. Amazon sought to put sports rights behind the paywall of its Amazon Prime video service.
The NFL already has an deal with Amazon for the series, All or Nothing, which is produced by NFL Films. The documentary followed the Arizona Cardinals in 2015 and the Los Angeles Rams in 2016.
Twitter and NFL executives say they were happy with the streams in 2016, which averaged 265,000 viewers on an average-minute basis during the season.
The NFL move to Amazon is largely driven by allowing more digital companies to sample its popular content in the run up to 2021, when its media deals start to expire.
The NFL will release its schedule shortly before the draft April 27. We’ll see if the Seahawks draw five gold stars from the hometown media.