<iframe src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-P36XLWQ" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">

Amazon targets Manningcast to boost Thursday night NFL coverage

Retail and technology giant could poach popular simulcast as part of wider sports programming schedule.

13 December 2021 Steve McCaskill
Amazon targets Manningcast to boost Thursday night NFL coverage

Getty Images

  • ESPN has Manningcast until the 2023 season
  • Amazon becomes sole broadcaster of TNF from 2022 to 2033
  • Amazon also linked with deal for NFL Media and Sunday Ticket

Amazon is reportedly keen to boost its coverage of the National Football League (NFL) by poaching ‘Manningcast’, an alternative broadcast of Monday Night Football (MNF) featuring brothers and former quarterbacks Eli and Peyton Manning, from rival ESPN.

Front Office Sports says ESPN’s deal with Peyton Manning’s production company Omaha is set to expire at the end of the 2023 season, with negotiations over a new contract likely to begin next year. If Omaha does not renew its deal with the Disney-owned broadcaster, then the retail and technology giant could be ready to pounce.

Of all the big technology and streaming companies that have been linked with a major move into the sports broadcasting market, Amazon is the one that has shown the greatest interest. It has so far cherrypicked certain sports rights, such as Premier League soccer, US Open tennis, and Autumn Nations rugby union, that it believes can drive revenues in its other businesses.

However, the deal with the NFL is by far and away its most ambitious foray into the market. From 2022 until 2033, Amazon is to become the sole broadcaster of Thursday Night Football (TNF), marking the first time in the football league’s history that games will be exclusive to a streaming platform.

Far from an opportunistic play, Amazon will be an official broadcaster of the biggest sporting property in the world’s biggest sports media market. The company plans to live up to that status with a star-studded presentation team that could include commentator Al Michaels and a full slate of complementary programming that increases interest and legitimacy.

Manningcast would be part of that strategy. The simulcast has proved hugely popular with fans since its debut earlier this year on ESPN2 and is an example of how alternative broadcasts of the same event can help maximise the value of premium sports rights. The popularity of Manningcast could tempt some viewers who would otherwise be unwilling to pay for yet another subscription to sign up for Amazon Prime.

A separate report in the New York Post has suggested Amazon has held talks with Embassy Row, the production company behind the NFL Network’s ‘Good Morning Football’ and NBC Sports’ Men in Blazers about a possible partnership, although no agreement as been reached.

There have also been suggestions that Amazon could take a 49 per cent stake in the NFL Media business and even acquire Sunday Ticket – a streaming package for out-of-market games in the US.

Amazon has been approached for comment.

1 / 2news articles read

Enjoying SportsPro content? Create your account and get enhanced access to all the latest stories.


Already have an account?