Amazon lands streaming rights to 'Thursday Night Football,' for a hefty fee

If you needed any more proof that the NFL’s ratings crisis of 2016 was severely overblown, take a look at how much Amazon Prime spent to stream “Thursday Night Football.”

Recode reported that Amazon outbid other interested parties like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to land the rights to stream 10 Thursday night NFL games. For that, they’ll pay about $50 million. Last year, Twitter paid $10 million for a similar deal to stream Thursday night games.

The NFL will stream Thursday night games on Amazon Prime, a report said. (AP)
The NFL will stream Thursday night games on Amazon Prime, a report said. (AP)

Amazon isn’t getting exclusive broadcast rights to the games, despite paying five times as much as Twitter last year. NBC and CBS will still broadcast the games too. Amazon Prime is just streaming the network broadcasts to those who won’t watch on TV, though NBC and CBS also can stream the games they broadcast, and the games will be streamed to Verizon wireless subscribers too, according to Recode. For its $50 million investment Amazon gets “the rights to sell a handful of ads slots per game,” Recode said.

Yeah, the NFL is really reeling from that ratings dip.

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Amazon has started to get into the NFL game recently, most notably by going the “Hard Knocks” route by producing its “All or Nothing” series following an NFL team behind the scenes. Last year Amazon focused on the Arizona Cardinals in “All or Nothing” and the Los Angeles Rams will be featured this year.

There will be a smaller audience than last season for the stream, because Twitter is free and the Amazon live stream will be available to only its Amazon Prime subscribers. But the NFL has to be thrilled with the price that was paid. If Amazon is willing to pay that much for 10 games, where it won’t be the exclusive broadcaster and won’t even be the exclusive streamer, what could exclusive rights to stream games fetch? That $50 million bid had to be an eye-opener for the NFL.

In short: The NFL is doing just fine, it seems.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!