Amazon's 30% hike to renew NFL deal

SEATTLE (Washington) • Amazon.com agreed to pay the National Football League (NFL) about US$65 million (S$86.2 million) per year to stream two more seasons of Thursday night games on its Prime video service, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The price tag, about 30 per cent more than Amazon paid for the rights last season, underscores how the online retailer values sportscasts as a way to attract people to its lucrative loyalty club Prime, which offers video streaming and speedy delivery.

More than 100 million people pay for Prime globally, and members tend to shop more on Amazon, boosting profit.

Amazon also on Thursday reported a surge in first-quarter profit and a rosy outlook for the spring, surprising all but the most optimistic on Wall Street.

Amazon and the NFL said in a news release on Thursday that they had renewed their streaming deal for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. They did not disclose financial terms.

The deal gives Amazon the digital rights to 11 Thursday night football games also broadcast by Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, which paid more than US$3 billion to air the next five seasons. Bidding for the digital rights was competitive.

Amazon beat out others including Twitter and Google's YouTube, the person said. Twitter declined to comment, and YouTube did not immediately return a request for comment.

Amazon has been building its lineup of sports programming to lure more viewers, including a deal to stream the US Open Tennis Championships in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and a documentary series following different NFL teams, called All or Nothing.

Reuters reported last month that broad-interest programmes were helping lure viewers to Prime cheaply, with about 26 million US subscribers tuning in to Prime Video early last year.

Amazon had more than 18 million total viewers over 11 games this past football season.

This week's NFL Draft could be viewed by eligible subscribers on Amazon Fire TV, with streaming available on the NFL, FOX Sports GO and ESPN apps.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2018, with the headline 'Amazon's 30% hike to renew NFL deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe