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Report: NFL and Amazon discussing exclusive US$1bn a year Thursday night football contract

Deal would see Prime Video stream a ‘significant number of games’.

4 March 2021 Ed Dixon

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  • Amazon contract would kick in after 2021/22 season, according to The WSJ
  • Prime Video currently paying US$75m a year for non-exclusive contract
  • NFL’s Sunday and Monday deals with Fox, CBS, NBC and ESPN set to run for as long as 11 years

The National Football League (NFL) is close to signing a new rights deal that could see Amazon ‘carry many games’ exclusively on its Prime Video streaming service, according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The deal could reportedly cost the tech giant US$1 billion per season, by far its biggest commitment so far in the sports rights space. Under the current deal it signed in 2020, Amazon holds the streaming rights for Thursday night football and pays US$75 million per season.

Those games have been shared with Fox and the league’s in-house network, NFL Network, although Amazon did gain its first exclusive NFL broadcast during the 2020 season.

The new deal would reportedly see Thursday night games not made available on linear TV outside of the team’s local markets, a similar arrangement to pay-TV network ESPN’s Monday night package.

The latest report follows a New York Post article in December that suggested Amazon could take on the contract alone, with Fox focusing its resources on its Sunday package.

According to widespread reports, the NFL’s new broadcast agreements could be wrapped up as early next week, with the main TV networks potentially paying as much as double their current rate.

The WSJ says that deals for the NFL’s Sunday and Monday franchises with Fox, CBS, NBC and ESPN are likely to run for as long as 11 years. ESPN’s deal would go into effect after the 2021/22 season while the Fox, CBS and NBC contracts would kick in after 2022/23.

It is the latest report to emerge as the NFL continues negotiations for its domestic rights packages. At the end of February, Sports Business Journal (SBJ) said the league and Disney had agreed the outline of a new US$2.6 billion a year deal for ESPN to retain its Monday night package. The NFL denied the report.

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