Amazon hasn't exactly made it secretive that they are heavily investing the Amazon Video portion of their site, as seen by the many ventures regarding Amazon Prime Video and the recent spending of Amazon Studios. Now it seems like the online behemoth may be setting its sites on the sports world, namely the NFL.
The NFL is selling the digital rights to stream 18 regular season games in 2016 and Amazon is interested, per a report from recode.net. These games would be the Thursday Night Football games, which the TV rights were just sold to NBC and CBS just last week.
Not only would a deal to stream NFL games boost the number of eyes and hit a different demographic than many of Amazon Video's other services, but it would also likely bring in huge advertising dollars looking to sponsor the streams of the games. The NFL is arguably the most popular sports league in the United States with a growing international following, so this would be a huge get for Amazon.
As you'd expect, Amazon isn't alone in trying to obtain these digital right as other giants in the online world are also vying for the opportunity to strike a deal with the NFL. Facebook, Verizon, and Yahoo! have all shown varying degrees of interest in purchasing these digital rights as well.
Yahoo! actually broke the mold for these online streams of regular season games in the 2015 regular season as they paid $20 million for the right to stream a game played in London between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills. That stream pulled in 15.2 million unique viewers (per CNBC), a number that actually left experts a bit underwhelmed. That could have had a lot to do with the quality of game rather than the concept, though.
If Amazon is going to pull the trigger and bring the NFL to Amazon Video, though, it's going to cost them in a major way. With the money that Yahoo! paid to stream just one game and the money that TV rights cost networks, it stands to reason that the sum it will cost for these digital rights to NFL games will be quite hefty.
There's no word on when the NFL will decide where to sell the streaming rights to these games, but the rumblings are that it will be decided before the annual owners meeting on March 20—meaning Amazon will find out soon enough if they will gain a huge addition to their catalog of content.
Even if Amazon Video misses out on striking a deal with the NFL, there will still be plenty of content for consumers to check out on Amazon Prime Video, including the shows that we ranked as the 50 best streaming for free on Prime Video.
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