The NFL is bringing a new meaning to “prime time.”
After a run with Twitter in 2016, the league’s Thursday night prime-time games are moving to Amazon Prime, the league announced on Wednesday. The site and the league have agreed to partner on a deal for the rights to livestream 10 Thursday Night Football games.
The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
“We are continually looking for ways to deliver our games to fans wherever they watch, whether on television or on digital platforms and we are thrilled to bring Thursday Night Football to Amazon”, said Brian Rolapp, Chief Media and Business Officer for the NFL, in a release. “As has been the case with all our streaming initiatives, we look forward to continuing to innovate with our partners as we learn the best ways to serve our fans both this season and into the future.”
“Our focus is on bringing customers the best premium video programming, when and how they want to watch it. Streaming Thursday Night Football on Prime Video is a great step for us toward that vision, and offers tremendous new value for Prime members around the world,” said Jeff Blackburn, Senior Vice President, Business Development Entertainment, Amazon. “And we’re thrilled to extend our ongoing content relationship with the NFL — the gold standard for sports entertainment — on behalf of our Prime customers.”
The league keeps pushing the envelope on social platforms (signing a deal with Snapchat before the 2016 season) and in livestreaming select prime time games, moving from Yahoo!’s one-game run with the London contest in 2015, to a 10-game Twitter slate in 2016, and a similar schedule with Amazon in 2017. Twitter’s streaming of TNF enabled fans to watch games live on their mobile devices and engage via the social platform.
This time around, users will need to pay to play — well, watch — Thursday Night Football via live stream. The games will be available only to Amazon Prime members, which is more than 60 million strong, according to analyst estimates.
This is a big catch for Amazon, which is competing with Netflix and Hulu as a premier source of entertainment content. Amazon’s addition of the livestreaming deal builds upon an NFL foundation that began with its excellent, NFL Films-produced All or Nothing documentary series, which follows an NFL team through a season (Arizona in 2015). That series is set to premiere its second season, which follows the Los Angeles Rams during their 2016 campaign.
The 10 TNF matchups will also continue to be broadcast on live television in a package that is split between CBS, NBC and NFL Network, with the latter simulcasting games broadcast on either CBS or NBC.