The NFL slowly became more than just a Sunday sport when they added games to Monday and Thursday nights. During the 2016 season, the NFL had a deal with Twitter for $10 million to live stream the Thursday Night Football games. Now, Amazon will be offering five times that amount for the streams.
While Twitter is great for live tweeting events, they hadn’t really dipped their toes into television before this deal. Amazon, on the other hand, has the experience with Amazon originals and Amazon Prime Video in general.
Victor Luckerson broke down why Amazon was a better fit for the NFL over at The Ringer:
“But an Amazon-NFL partnership is a more logical fit than one with Twitter, and it could portend more dramatic deals in the future. Unlike Twitter, Amazon is already a destination for television content, thanks to its Prime streaming service and its video rental store. Its video app has been a set-top-box staple for years; Twitter’s just launched in September. And Amazon Prime customers love buying things so much they actually put physical buttons around their houses to fulfill their consumer impulses. They’re probably a receptive audience for more commercials and ads, right?”
With products like the Amazon Fire Stick and the Amazon Fire TV, there’s more flexibility in how people access Amazon’s video services. They have both mobile apps and physical products that you can use.
The NFL deal with Twitter opened the door for them to start focusing more on the live aspect of their company. Users were already committed to live tweeting events, but this allowed the company to gain more partnerships. Despite losing out on the deal, Twitter still wants to move forward with their focus on live streaming.
The NFL, however, gets the best part of the deal. Amazon will stream Thursday Night Football for them and they still get to keep all of their TV deals, as they did with the Twitter deal. CBS, NBC, and NFL Network will be sharing the Thursday games throughout the season.
Last season, the Twitter numbers came out to about 266,000 viewers per game, while the broadcast and cable numbers came out to 15.8 million per game. Amazon Prime boasts more users than both of those numbers combined (60 million, roughly) so it will be interesting to see how their number will compare for the 2017 season. On that note, you will need to be an Amazon Prime subscriber in order to take advantage of watching the games.
Cutting the cord has been a hot topic for a while now with customers growing increasingly unhappy with their cable providers. Sports are a big reason that customers keep their accounts because there just aren’t any good options for live streaming games. The NFL has products like Game Pass, but for anyone who watches multiple sports, those packages will add up, too. And oftentimes, you still need a cable package to take advantage of the league’s packages. With Amazon now in the picture, it isn’t inconceivable that they could cause a huge disruption to the cable companies. If this deal works out for Thursday Night Football, would it be crazy for them to add Monday Night Football to the deal? Probably not.
The NFL and Amazon are both huge entities in their own way. Jeff Bezos is a brilliant man and has made Amazon into so much more than just a place to shop from the comfort of your home. Plus, people largely have fewer complaints about Amazon Prime than many do about Twitter. It could prove to be a much more pleasant experience for some, but we’ll have to wait until the first Thursday night game to truly find out.
[Featured Image by David McNew/Getty Images]