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Live NFL games are coming to Amazon Prime in 2017

Published Apr 5th, 2017 6:52AM EDT
NFL Football
Image: USA Today

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It’s practically impossible to avoid the NFL, whether you’re a football fan or not. Later this year, America’s most popular sport will be coming to Amazon Prime as part of a new deal the online retailer recently inked with the NFL.

According to The New York Times, Amazon later this year will stream 10 Thursday night NFL games to its Prime members as part of a deal that reportedly cost the online retailer $50 million. Notably, the price the NFL managed to secure from Amazon is a good deal more than the $10 million Twitter paid to broadcast NFL games last season.

All in all, the deal isn’t all that surprising. Just a few months back, word surfaced that Amazon was interested in using live sporting events as a lure to attract new users to its incredibly profitable Prime service. Indeed, the online retailer reportedly engaged in serious negotiations with a who’s-who of professional sports leagues, including the NBA, Major League Baseball and even Major League Soccer. Further, the company also held talks with more niche sporting organizations, including the World Surf League, the National Lacrosse League, various cricket sports leagues and others.

Amazon’s NFL deal is not exclusive as Thursday night NFL games will also air on CBS, NBC and the NFL Network. In fact, Amazon’s stream will simply mirror the NFL broadcast from either CBS or NBC. Interestingly, the commercials will mostly be the same save for a few ad slots Amazon will be able to use to promote its own content or sell to third-party advertisers.

The Times adds:

Agreements with Amazon and other internet companies are an attempt by the N.F.L. to reach younger fans, even though the league risks alienating the broadcast networks that pay hundreds of millions of dollars in rights fees. For Amazon, the N.F.L. agreement is an attempt to fill one of the biggest holes in its lineup.

Clearly, the big winner in all of this is the NFL. Whether or not the deal will actually bring younger fans into the fold remains to be seen, but the league’s $50 million contract with Amazon comes on top of a massive $450 million broadcast deal it struck with CBS and NBC just last year for the broadcast rights to Thursday night NFL games.

Incidentally, it’s worth noting that Twitter’s NFL experiment last year reportedly disappointed a number of corporate sponsors on account of viewers not tuning in for full games. Amazon, clearly, likely doesn’t care about viewer engagement so long as the NFL brand can help bolster the company’s Prime-subscriber count.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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