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Amazon to Get Exclusive NFL Rights a Year Earlier Than Expected

05/03/2021 | 11:14am EDT

By Joe Flint

Amazon.com Inc. will take over exclusive video rights for "Thursday Night Football" starting in the 2022-23 season, a year earlier than anticipated, the company and the National Football League said Monday.

Initially, Amazon's deal with the NFL called for the tech giant to begin streaming games in the 2023-24 season. Current rights holder Fox Corp. agreed to exit its existing deal for the package a season early.

Terms, including the cost of acquiring the additional year of rights, weren't disclosed. In March, Amazon signed a 10-year deal with the NFL to stream 15 games per season on its Prime Video platform. The average annual rights fee is around $1.2 billion and that is the price tag for the additional season, people familiar with the matter said.

"This expedited deal is an immediate differentiator for us as a service, as it gives Prime members exclusive access to the most popular sport in the United States," said Marie Donoghue, Amazon's vice president of global sports video.

In a memo sent to team owners reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the NFL said, "The decision to accelerate the launch of TNF on Amazon for the 2022 season creates incremental economic and strategic value for the League and our fans."

The Amazon deal marked the first time the NFL sold a package of games exclusively to a streaming service. At the time of the deal, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said it was a seminal moment for both the league and the tech giant.

The games Amazon streams will only be available on television in the local markets of the two teams playing.

Amazon previously had streaming rights for "Thursday Night Football" while television rights were shared by Fox and the league's NFL Network. The Amazon deal marked a significant increase in fees from the average of $660 million a year Fox had been paying.

The Amazon deal was one of several long-term agreements the NFL signed in March with its video partners. Collectively, those pacts were valued at more than $100 billion.

Fox Corp. and Wall Street Journal parent News Corp share common ownership.

Write to Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-03-21 1314ET

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