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Amazon acquires NFL streaming rights for $50 mn

MUMBAI: Amazon has done a deal with the National Football League (NFL) to stream Thursday night matches to Amazon Prime members globally.

The deal is worth $50 million and is for one year. This is worth much more than the deal done the previous season with micro blogging site Twitter.

The Thursday Night Football games will be made available to the tens of millions of Amazon Prime members worldwide, on the Amazon Prime Video app for TVs, game consoles, set-top boxes and connected devices, which includes Amazon Fire TV, mobile devices and online. The TNF games will also be available to Prime Video members internationally in over 200 countries and territories.

“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. 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,” said NFL chief media and business officer Brian Rolapp.

“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,” Amazon senior VP business development and entertainment Jeff Blackburn said.

This agreement bolsters an already strong partnership between the NFL and Amazon around ‘All or Nothing’, the Amazon Original series produced by NFL Films that is entering its second season.

With this partnership, the NFL has again extended its digital presence, making the most valuable content in sports and entertainment available across multiple platforms.

“By buying these rights, Amazon clearly demonstrates that they understand the unequaled power of live sports to attract consumers,” senior analyst for MoffetNathanson Michael Nathanson said in a research note.

A report in the L.A. Times said that Amazon is betting that the NFL package will entice a host of new subscribers to join Amazon Prime, which gives customers access to streaming video and free shipping, among other perks, for a $99 annual fee. The company would need to add over 500,000 new customers to cover the price tag for the Thursday NFL games. Though Amazon has never disclosed how many Prime subscribers it has, it’s believed to be in excess of 60 million, said Colin Sebastian, an analyst for Baird.

Sebastian further said that Amazon’s investment in original content for its streaming TV service has helped boost the number of Prime subscribers. It’s another example of how the company’s expansion into areas like logistics and cloud computing exist to serve Amazon’s primary goal: getting people to buy more stuff from its website.

“Amazon has a lot of infrastructure to support its core business,” Sebastian said.

The L.A. Times report added that though Twitter paid only a fraction of what Amazon is paying for the NFL partnership, it broadcast the games for free and was beholden to advertising to generate revenue. When the deal was announced a year ago, it was billed as part of Twitter’s new live-content strategy to garner more users. However, Twitter shares have sunk more than 10% in the last year.

“This helps kill the bullish Twitter narrative, that they will be the next worldwide player in live sports,” Nathanson said.