Amazon wins NFL bidding war to stream Thursday Night Football games in 2017

Starting in September, your Amazon Prime account is going to do more than just get you free two-day delivery on everything you order. You’re also going to be able to stream Thursday night NFL games

The league and the online behemoth reached a deal Tuesday that will allow Amazon to stream 10 Thursday night games per season. Amazon is basically taking over for Twitter, the company that won the bidding rights to the package in 2016.  

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is going to pay a total of $50 million for the rights to stream the 10 games, which is a huge increase over the $10 million that Twitter paid last year. 

The TNF streaming package was awarded to Amazon after the company outbid Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, according to the Sports Business Journal

Besides Amazon, you’ll also be able to watch the 10 games on NFL Network and either CBS or NBC (five of the games will be on CBS, while the other five will be on NBC). According to Recode, both CBS and NBC will also be allowed to stream the games even though they’ll also be streaming on Amazon. 

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Roger Goodell has worked out a deal with Amazon.  USATSI

Amazon has been dabbling in NFL-related material since last year when it unveiled it’s “All or Nothing” series, so buying the rights for the Thursday package was the next logical move, said Jeff Blackburn, the company’s head of business development and entertainment. 

“We’re focused on bringing our customers what they want to watch. Prime members want the NFL,” Blackburn said, via the WSJ. “For us, this is about starting to bring live sports to our Prime members all around the world.”

With “All or Nothing,” Amazon developed a documentary where the company followed around one team for an entire season. After tracking the Cardinals in 2015 for their 2016 series debut, Amazon followed along during the Rams’s first year in Los Angeles for this upcoming season of the show. 

On the NFL’s end, the one big difference between Twitter last year and Amazon this year is that the streaming was free in 2016. For 2017, Amazon customers will need a Prime subscription. 

Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s executive vice president of media, doesn’t think the fact that you’ll need a subscription will lower streaming viewership between 2016 and 2017. The NFL executive thinks Amazon will “expand” the league’s reach. 

“Reach is a focus of ours. I think Amazon has been able to demonstrate, in everything that they do, massive scale,” Rolapp said. “I don’t think this is limiting the reach. I think this expanding the reach.”

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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