The NFL tested live streaming Thursday night NFL games last year, and by all accounts, it was a pretty big success. Millions of people tuned in through Twitter, and those games saw far more social media traction than normal. They’ll continue streaming Thursday games this season, but it will be with a new host – Amazon. Several companies, including YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, expressed proposals for the rights, but it looks like Amazon was the one willing to pay a little more than the rest.
The online retail giant has been spending millions of dollars recently to bolster their streaming video catalog, and according to reports, they dropped about $50 million for the rights to Thursday night NFL streaming. That’s a sizable increase from what Twitter paid last year (just $10 million) for the NFL’s first streaming agreement.
There is a small catch, though. While Twitter’s streaming games were open to everyone, even people without an account, Amazon’s 10 game package will only be available to Prime customers. Of course, Thursday night NFL will still air on television, with CBS and NBC splitting the rights this season. Aside from requiring a Prime subscription to watch, Amazon also plans to recoup a little of their payout by displaying ads on the screen.
This is a pretty big get for Amazon, as traditionally, it’s pretty tough to get the rights to a live sporting event. Most major sports leagues like the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL have television rights locked up for years, so Thursday Night Football was actually one of the highest profile options on the market.
This isn’t Amazon’s first foray into the world of football, either. The service recently ordered a second season of their NFL themed show All Or Nothing, which follows the Los Angeles Rams as they make their return to the city.