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NFL passes streaming to Amazon, after Twitter

Amazon announced Wednesday it is making a foray into streaming live sports with a deal to add pro US football games to its Prime subscription video service.

Rights to stream 19 Thursday night matches of the National Football League during the 2017 season were bought by Amazon, which planned to make games available in real time to millions of Prime subscribers worldwide.

“Our focus is on bringing customers the best premium video programming, when and how they want to watch it,” Amazon senior vice president of business development and entertainment Jeff Blackburn said in a release.


“Streaming Thursday Night Football on Prime Video is a great step for us toward that vision.”

The news marks the latest for a major sports league on streaming rights, aiming to boost online viewers as more fans move to internet platforms.

The NFL experimented with live online streaming last season in an exclusive partnership with Twitter, but handed off the rights this year to Amazon in what was reported to be a more lucrative deal.

Amazon and the NFL did not disclose financial terms of the arrangement, but US media reported that the company paid $50 million in a five-fold jump from the $10 million paid last year by Twitter.

Thursday night NFL games are also broadcast by NBC and CBS television networks.

“We are continually looking for ways to deliver our games to fans wherever they watch, whether on television or on digital platforms and we are thrilled to bring Thursday Night Football to Amazon,” NFL chief media and business officer Brian Rolapp said.

Streaming NFL games was believed to have boosted Twitter use, ad Amazon likely bought rights to the matches to boost the allure of a service that competes with on-demand television star Netflix.


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