NFL reaches $100 billion agreement with broadcasters for next decade
posted Saturday Mar 20, 2021 by Scott Ertz
2020 was a bad year for most of us, but the National Football League (NFL) had a particularly difficult season. Despite people being at home nearly 24/7, the league saw a significant drop in viewership. The slump culminated in a Super Bowl whose ratings were the lowest in almost 15 years. Even with these issues, the NFL has managed to address them at least with broadcasters, as the company has reached a major broadcast deal for the next decade.
The biggest change to the agreement is the heavy addition of streaming services. Most interestingly, Amazon has obtained exclusive rights for Thursday Night Football. This marks the first time that a flagship brand will move exclusively to an online platform. Amazon will pay $1 billion per year from 2023 through 2033 for this right - the least expensive of the deals (TNF traditionally has the lowest ratings).
Last season, Amazon streamed TNF games from Fox on its primary streaming platforms: Amazon Prime Video and Twitch. Both had unique capabilities, with Prime getting alternate commentary options, and Twitch included the traditional social interaction. For its singular exclusive game, it even featured a casual chat with ex-NFL players. It is possible that we can expect more of this now that TNF will be exclusive to Amazon's platforms, though Amazon has other fish to fry. Originally Amazon viewers were treated to Fox's coverage in simulcast, but this season Amazon is going to have to do its own production.
Under the deal, the NFL's traditional broadcast partners will also be able to add the content to their streaming services. NBC Universal (Comcast) can stream games on its Peacock services, CBSViacom can stream games on Paramount+, and Fox Sports can stream through Tubi. The only future in question is that of NFL Sunday Ticket. It has long been part of DirecTV's offerings, but with the brand in financial trouble and recently jettisoned from AT&T, it seems likely that a streaming service will end up with those rights.