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Twitter Loses Out To Amazon Over $50 Million NFL Thursday Night Football Streaming Deal

5 April 2017, 7:38 am EDT By Carl Velasco Tech Times
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Amazon has officially inked a deal with NFL to stream Thursday Night Football games live on Amazon Prime. It beat out Twitter, which streamed last year’s games as a way to boost its live video platform.  ( NFL | Twitter )

Amazon Prime is about to get the football treatment.

Amazon and NFL have officially entered a $50 million one-year streaming deal that'll lend the retail company exclusive rights to broadcast Thursday Night Football games, both companies announced Tuesday, March 4.

Amazon Buys Out NFL Streaming Deal, Beats Twitter

The amount comes from The Wall Street Journal's report. It's five times larger than the amount Twitter reportedly paid the NFL in 2016 to acquire the same rights. At the time, the deal stood as a landmark point for both companies, especially for Twitter, since its eagerness to hold broadcasts of the game signalled its growing ambition to venture further into live video.

Twitter had boasted the inked deal as a core aspect of its plan to reinvigorate the service and boost its waning user base — in addition to helping the Twitter brand become the go-to, grab-bag term users think of immediately when it came to live events. But as Business Insider notes, some advertisers reportedly found the audience for football games for Twitter underwhelming, so there's no telling if the deal did any significant good to ramp up Twitter user base.

That said, Amazon beating Twitter over a streaming deal might come as an embarrassing missed opportunity for the latter, especially considering that Anthony Noto, Twittwer's COO/CFO, held the CFO position during his time at NFL.

Other bidders for the streaming deal include Google, Facebook, and of course, Twitter.

How To Watch NFL Live On Amazon

To watch live games, users would have to be subscribed to Amazon Prime — a stark departure from last year's setup, where basically any Twitter user can watch the live games gratis. That said, the live games, similar to last year, will still be broadcast live each week on cable TV, hopping between CBS, NBC, and NFL Network.

What 's still to be determined, however, is how Amazon intends to broadcast the games. Though seeing as streams are poised to be bundled with Prime, it's safe to assume at the moment that they will play out just like any other content on Amazon Video. By contrast, many complained about last year's broadcast setup on Twitter, with them saying that the constant barrage of tweets took away from the experience of watching the game. Amazon should take note.

The one-year deal includes 10 Thursday Night Football streams, as The Wall Street Journal reports. It represents a new direction for Amazon's breadth of programming, at least in contrast with Netflix and Hulu, both of which have so far steered clear of live sports and, in the case of Netflix, live programming altogether.

"We're focused on bringing our customers what they want to watch, Prime members want the NFL," said Jeff Blackburn, Amazon's senior VP, adding that the large audience for NFL will also give Amazon the opportunity promote its other content.

Thoughts about the Amazon and NFL deal? Will you watch live thursday night football on Amazon Prime? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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