Amazon signs deal with DirecTV to air ‘Thursday Night Football’ games in bars


Javonte Williams #33 of the Denver Broncos carries the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals at Empower Field At Mile High on December 19, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.

Matthew Stockman | Getty Images

Amazon‘s Prime Video reached a deal with DirecTV to air its “Thursday Night Football” games in more than 300,000 businesses such as bars and restaurants.

The announcement comes as the National Football League’s preseason is underway. DirecTV will air its first game with Amazon Prime Video — a matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans — on Thursday.

Amazon Prime, which has been building out its sports offerings to its streaming subscribers, will be the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football and air its first regular season game on Sept. 15. Local broadcast stations for the teams playing in a given week will also carry the games.

Amazon is the first streaming service to hold exclusive rights to a package of NFL games.

The deal was part of an 11-year media rights agreement the NFL reached last year with media companies that also include Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, Paramount Corp.’s CBS Sports, Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN and Fox Corp.

Amazon’s deal with DirecTV gives current business customers, which also includes hotels, casinos, sports books and retailers, the Prime Video feed of Thursday Night Football at no extra cost.

DirecTV isn’t new to offering NFL games to commercial and residential customers. The company currently holds the rights to Sunday Ticket, the NFL’s subscription package for out-of-market games, which will end after the upcoming season.

The NFL has yet to announce a new partner for Sunday Ticket, although Commissioner Roger Goodell said in July he expects the league will select a streaming service by the fall. Apple, Amazon and Disney are all interested in holding the rights to Sunday Ticket, CNBC has previously reported.

While DirecTV isn’t bidding again on the rights for the Sunday Ticket, the company is interested in maintaining a relationship with businesses like bars and restaurants, CNBC has reported, which would be similar to the deal with Amazon Prime for Thursday Night Football.

Disclosure: CNBC is owned by Comcast’s NBCUniversal.

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