Amazon Wins NFL Bidding With $50M Offer, Limited to Prime Subs

Detailed view of the NFL seal logo during the NFL Annual Meetings at the Biltmore Resort. Mandatory Credit Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Amazon has won the rights to live-stream the NFL's "Thursday Night Football" this season, replacing Twitter, a source tells ESPN's Adam Schefter, confirming multiple reports. To stream the games on Amazon, you'll need a subscription to Amazon Prime, which is $99 per year. Google's YouTube also reportedly made an offer.

Back in 2015, the NFL used Yahoo! as its guinea pig to begin testing the waters of digital streaming for its Thursday Night Football brand. If Amazon did indeed buy the rights, it suggests the company found a way to calm the NFL's reported fears regarding whether Amazon would be able to sell all the ad inventory for the live streams.

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. Amazon's one-year deal is worth $50 million and will include the 10 games carried by CBS and NBC. Luckily, Thursday night games are rarely must-see events like numerous games scheduled for Sundays and Mondays.

Add to that situation the stipulation that the company paid nearly five times what the previous rights-holder paid the year before. By contrast, many complained about last year's broadcast setup on Twitter, with them saying that the constant barrage of tweets took away from the experience of watching the game.

Amazon did not say how much it paid for the rights. According to Twitter, its debut contract with National Football League in 2016 led to more than 40 live-streaming partnerships for the company in areas of sports, entertainment, news and politics.

We note that Amazon's shares appreciated 54.7% in the previous year compared with the Zacks Internet Commerce industry's gain of 43.8%.

The Amazon-NFL arrangement is anything but ideal for cord-cutters.

The Patriots are likely to have a pair of Thursday Night games, just like in 2015. Amazon Prime boasts more users than both of those numbers combined (60 million, roughly) so it will be interesting to see how their number will compare for the 2017 season.

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