- Amazon signed a US$10bn deal to become exclusive NFL broadcaster
- DirectTV has more than 300k business customers across the US
Amazon is paying US$1 billion to become the exclusive broadcaster of Thursday Night Football (TNF) for the next decade having previously shared the rights with a linear broadcaster.
It is the first time in NFL history that an entire package of games has been made available exclusively on a streaming service, presenting a distribution challenge for venues who may not have access to the necessary infrastructure.
DirecTV has a pre-existing relationship with more than 300,000 venues, many of whom take out a subscription in order to receive the NFL’s Sunday Ticket package of out-of-market NFL games. The deal dramatically expands the reach of Amazon’s broadcast and is an added bonus for DirectTV’s business customers, many of whom will receive the feed at no extra cost.
The linear broadcast will standardise quality, minimise latency so multiple screens remain in sync and reduce the risk of disruption due to poor connectivity.
“The sports media landscape continues to evolve rapidly, and the focus on delivering a great experience to our entire range of customers must remain at the centre of that evolution,” said Rob Thun, DirecTV chief content officer.
“This agreement between Amazon and DirectTV for Business comes at an important time when more streaming companies are obtaining exclusive rights to marquee sports programming and fans want to cheer on their teams at home and while out at bars, restaurants and other businesses with friends, family and co-workers.”
Amazon’s strategy with live sport thus far has been to encourage as many people as possible to sign up for its Prime delivery service and spend more money on its retail platform. It has less interest in disrupting the public venue business, as demonstrated by its partnerships with BT Sport in the UK, Screach in France, and now, DirectTV in the US.
For DirectTV, TNF is a welcome addition to its offering given the uncertainty surrounding NFL Sunday Ticket. DirectTV currently pays US$1.5 billion for the rights in a loss-leading strategy to drive subscriptions for its satellite TV platform. However, with customer numbers falling as consumers ‘cut the cord’, it is ready to exit the stage once its deal expires after the 2023 season.
The NFL is repositioning Sunday Ticket as a streaming proposition to drive interest from over-the-top (OTT) services and to ensure its matches reach a wider audience. It hopes to achieve as much as US$2 billion a season.
Amazon – along with Apple, Disney, and Google – has put its hat into the ring for the package, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell waiting until the Autumn to decide the winning bid. DirecTV will be hoping whoever wins will be keen for a similar deal to the one it has agreed for TNF.