Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon
Catherine Taylor Reuters
Amazon wants to be the exclusive producer of the National Football League games from Thursday, starting in 2023, but the NFL may decide to keep certain games in the NFL network and take less money from Amazon, according to acquaintances.
Amazon is in talks with the league to pay about $ 1
Under the new agreement, Amazon will be responsible for all production costs and will still have to pay a local operator to produce the game for domestic markets, as the NFL wants Thursday night’s games to be broadcast on local television in each of the participating domestic markets. teams.
The NFL, which is usually packaged as part of expensive pay-TV packages, has requirements for pay-TV distributors to carry a very certain number of games. The Wall Street Journal, which previously reported on Amazon’s interest, said Wednesday that the NFL Network’s deals require it to broadcast an exclusive five games. With the NFL having to add the 18th week, the league can give the NFL network enough Saturday games and other cuts to reach cable network limits without sinking on Thursday, one man said.
However, the NFL may decide that boosting the value of the NFL network is a higher priority than providing Amazon with full game information on Thursday. The league is still considering proposals to simulate Amazon’s Thursday games on the NFL or to split Thursday’s games between Amazon and the NFL Network, two of the people said.
Amazon will not pay nearly $ 1 billion for a full package of games that are not entirely exclusive, people said. Amazon is open to an agreement that gets branded games that are broadcast simultaneously on the NFL network for less money, people said. It is also open to a package that gets fewer exclusive games for less money.
“This is a very groundbreaking event for the television industry,” LightShed analyst Rich Greenfield told CNBC today. “The fact that you can now get games on Thursday nights without having a local TV – no antenna will work if you are outside your home markets.”
The deal will be based on Amazon’s three-year deal with the NFL to broadcast 12 games on Thursday in the 2020, 2021 and 2022 seasons in its Prime Video streaming service. This deal allows Amazon to broadcast one game exclusively each season. Last year, it was a 16-week game between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers. Fox’s football deal on Thursday night expires in 2022 and will not be redeemed early, according to people familiar with the matter.
The NFL is cautious about transmitting streaming rights. The league is close to securing agreements with its current television partners – Disney, which owns ESPN and ABC; ViacomCBS; Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Fox – for Sunday and Monday night packages.
Yet streaming is becoming the dominant form of viewing for millions of Americans and may have global reach, unlike traditional pay-TV. Several pay-TV distributors have signed deals with Amazon Prime Video to make their program available to TVs, further limiting friction for the tens of millions of Americans who still pay for linear pay-TV packages from operators such as Comcast and AT&T.
Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal, which is the parent company of CNBC.