By Mitch Harber
June 7, 2021
Photo Credit: Associated Press
Amazon Prime Video is set to take over as the exclusive home of the NFL’s Thursday Night Football. This is a ten-year deal that will begin in 2022 and run through 2032.
Amazon is expected to pay $1 billion per year to the NFL over the decade stretch for the exclusive rights to the 15 Thursday night games per season. This marks the first time in history that the league has done a national broadcasting rights deal with a digital streaming service.
It also gives the ecommerce conglomerate, Amazon, a leg up within the sports tech industry. Over the last few years, people have been able to watch Thursday night games on Amazon, in addition to Fox and the NFL Network. The Thursday night games will also be broadcasted for free in the home market for the participating teams.
The NFL also has broadcasting rights deals with Fox, NBC, CBS, and ESPN. Thursday night television ratings have fared worse than games viewed on Sunday, but better than Monday night games, which are televised by ESPN.
As a whole, NFL viewership ratings have slightly decreased over the past few years.
One concern for both Amazon and the NFL is the increasing age of the average fan and viewer of the sport.
Yes, streaming and technology are the future and continue to see steady growth; however, the average NFL viewer is now over 50 years old. The two trends are moving in opposite directions and the question remains of how many older viewers are willing to change the way they watch? And will the change in broadcasting rights have the intended effect in drawing in a younger audience?