Amazon gets exclusive rights to stream NFL Games

The National Football League is renewing its streaming deal with Amazon, the league announced Wednesday.

The deal is a three-year agreement that keeps Amazon as an exclusive partner for live digital streaming of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package. Terms of the renewal were not disclosed, but the package is worth more than its previous $65 million annual valuation, according to a person familiar with the matter.

As part of the new agreement, not only will Amazon air Fox’s Thursday broadcast, the company will also stream an exclusive national regular-season game on the company’s Prime Video and Twitch platforms. This year’s game will be a late-season Saturday contest, the NFL said.

The exclusive game will emulate the NFL’s previous agreement deal with Yahoo in 2017, but it won’t be game played outside the U.S. like it was in the Yahoo deal. It will also be available to Verizon mobile customers to watch on smartphones through the Yahoo Sports app, the person said. The local broadcast stations of the two teams that play in the game will also have broadcast access, the person said.

This is the first time Amazon will be an exclusive TV provider of a game. Amazon will have similar exclusivity for the next two seasons after 2020 under the deal, though the game may not be a late-season Saturday telecast, the person said.

Another person with knowledge of the agreement said the Amazon game will be produced by one of the league’s network partners (CBS, NBC or FOX). 

The NFL will get insight into Amazon’s national reach and technical streaming technology by striking the exclusive deal. That may be important as the league considers which media or tech company will get Sunday Ticket rights, which expire after the 2022 season. The deal announcement comes almost two years to the day after Amazon and the NFL struck its last deal that paid the NFL over $60 million per season.

According to Sports Business Journal, the league has already started negotiations for renewing broadcast partnerships, which is expected to pay the league more than its estimated $5 billion per year it currently receives.