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The NFL is streaming Thursday night games on Amazon again (which means they won’t be on YouTube)

The games will be bundled in Amazon’s Prime subscription service - but free on Amazon’s Twitch

Quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots football team Tim Bradbury / Getty
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

The NFL and Amazon have renewed a deal that lets Amazon stream “Thursday Night Football” games to its Prime subscribers while Fox shows the game to broadcast TV viewers. If you were following me on Twitter earlier today, you’d already know what I have to say about that news.

If you didn’t, no problem. I don’t take it personally.

Again, we haven’t heard a number yet for Amazon’s fee, but it is very safe to assume it is more than the $50 million number that was floated for last season’s deal — it’s very important for the NFL to show that the value of these games keeps increasing. And whatever the number is, it won’t be meaningful to Amazon, which just posted a $51 billion Q1.

The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Flint, who knows his way around TV deals, says this deal represents a 30 percent bump to the last one. Assuming he’s right, that puts the value of this deal at $65 million a year, or $130 million for the whole thing. Again, nice for the NFL, and not important at all for Amazon.

More interesting: Amanda Herald, an NFL media exec who worked on the deal, confirms that while Amazon bundle the games behind its Prime subscription paywall (new price: $119 a year), it will also offer them for free, on its Twitch service, popular with gamers who like watching other gamers pay games.

Look for some experimenting there with the way Amazon presents statistics and other interactive goodies — similar to the stuff the NBA is trying with some of its Twitch broadcasts.

Here’s some background reading:

April 2017: Amazon will stream Thursday night NFL games this year

September 2017: Amazon’s NFL audience beat Twitter’s — but is still much smaller than TV

February 2018: Twitter, YouTube, Amazon and Verizon are competing for streaming rights to the NFL’s ‘Thursday Night Football’

And here’s the full text of the press release:


Thursday Night Football to be streamed globally​ during the 2018 & 2019 Seasons to over 100 million Amazon Prime members

The National Football League (NFL) announced today it has reached an agreement to renew its exclusive partnership with Amazon Prime Video to deliver a live OTT digital stream of Thursday Night Football, Presented by Bud Light to a global audience across devices during the 2018 and 2019 NFL Seasons. Amazon Prime will stream the 11 Thursday Night Footballgames broadcast by FOX, which will also be simulcast on NFL Network and distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes, once again securing the league’s “Tri-Cast” model of broadcast (FOX), cable (NFL Network, FOX Deportes), and digital (Amazon Prime Video) distribution.

The Thursday Night Football games will be made available to the over 100 million Amazon Prime members worldwide in over 200 countries and territories, on the Prime Video app for TVs, game consoles, and connected devices, which includes Amazon Fire TV, mobile devices and online. Thursday Night Football on Prime Video will provide members a unique viewing experience complete with interactive features that bring fans closer to the game. The TNF games will also be available to Twitch viewers. The NFL and Amazon will also collaborate on additional NFL content opportunities and enhanced fan viewing experiences, including making the games available on Twitch’s interactive social video service.

”Amazon was a tremendous partner for Thursday Night Football in 2017 and as we continue our mission of delivering NFL games to fans whether they watch on television or on digital platforms, we are excited to work with them again for the next two seasons,” said Brian Rolapp, Chief Media and Business Officer for the NFL. “Having over 100 million Amazon Prime members provides a massive platform to distribute Thursday Night Football digitally, not only to our fans in the United States but also around the world.”

“Our customers love to stream football — last year, we successfully debuted NFL Thursday Night Football on Prime Video in the U.S. and around the world,” said Jeff Blackburn, Senior Vice President Business Development & Entertainment at Amazon. “We’re thrilled to continue our relationship with the NFL and offer Prime members another two seasons of Thursday Night Football.”

The NFL and Amazon first partnered for distribution of Thursday Night Football during the 2017 season. In January, FOX Sports was awarded a five-year deal for Thursday Night Football that includes games between Weeks 4-15 (excluding Thanksgiving night) to be broadcast on FOX, simulcast via NFL Network and distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes.

The multiyear renewal continues a strong partnership between the NFL and Amazon which, in addition to Thursday Night Football, also features the Emmy-winning Prime Original Series All or Nothing. Produced by NFL Films, season three of the docuseries will launch on Friday, April 27 with All or Nothing: The Dallas Cowboys.

Presented by Bud Light, the 13-game Thursday Night Football schedule for the 2018 season features 11 games on FOX/NFL Network/FOX Deportes and Amazon, and two NFL Network exclusive games.

The 2018 Thursday Night Football schedule kicks off Week 2 when the Baltimore Ravens visit the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday, September 13 in an AFC North divisional matchup exclusively on NFL Network. The 2018 Thursday Night Footballslate of games on FOX/NFL Network/FOX Deportes and Amazon begins Week 4 when the Los Angeles Rams host the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, September 27 in a matchup of two playoff teams from 2017. All Thursday Night Football games will kick off at 8:20 PM ET.

The NFL is the most valuable content in all of sports and entertainment with nine of television’s 10 most-watched programs of the calendar year in 2017. Thursday Night Football is a top-5 show in all of television and the No. 2 show in primetime.

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