Report: Thursday Night Football Could End Up Being Exclusively On Amazon Prime

By Ari Meirov

The NFL is nearing completion of signing mammoth TV deals with its network partners. 

John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported over the weekend that Disney and the NFL reached a broad agreement on a new media rights deal that will keep Monday Night Football on ESPN. The package will put ABC back in the Super Bowl rotation, and it’s expected to include some ABC simulcast of Monday night games.

Deals with CBS and NBC are also close to being finalized. Per Ourand, each network will pay roughly $2 billion per year to keep their current packages.

FOX has been “pushing back” on the asking price of $2.25 billion per year, which is more than double its current rate of $1.1 billion per year. According to Ourand, the current gap won’t jeopardize the deals.

ESPN’s deal would go into effect after the 2021 season while the FOX, CBS and NBC agreements would kick in after the 2022 season.

Amazon Prime appears to be the future for Thursday Night Football. According to the Wall Street Journal, a deal with Amazon would result in a significant number of Thursday night games exclusively on its Prime Video platform. Those games would not be available on traditional television outside of the local markets of the two teams playing, according to the report. That would be the biggest shift the NFL has made when it comes to streaming.

If completed, an Amazon deal wouldn’t take effect until after the 2022 season, when FOX’s deal for Thursday night football expires. 

FOX is paying $660 million a season for that package. Ourand reported last week that Amazon is expected to pay a fee “well above” that number.  

According to WSJ, if the Thursday games go exclusively to Amazon, the yearly fee Amazon pays could reach $1 billion. Amazon is currently paying between $75 million and $100 million to stream Thursday night games.

The Wall Street Journal also mentions that the league isn’t renegotiating the Sunday Ticket package yet. The New York Post reported in December that ESPN+ is a contender for the package, but there have not been any follow up reports on that.

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