February 16, 2018
The National Football League suffered through a controversy-plagued season, underscored by declining attendance and slipping TV ratings – down 13%.
But that isn’t stopping Twitter, Amazon, Google-owned YouTube and Verizon from upping bids for first-time multiyear streaming rights to the 2018/19 season of NFL Thursday Night Football, according to Recode.net.
With Fox Sports securing exclusive Thursday Night Football broadcast rights over the next five years for $3.3 billion – nearly 50% more than what NBC and CBS paid to split rights to 10 games last season, expect online properties to dig deep into the wallet as well.
Indeed, Twitter secured rights in 2016 for $10 million, a figure that ballooned to $50 million in 2017 for Amazon Prime Video.
While Verizon has select mobile streaming rights along with Fox, it could seek to expand them for its fledgling Oath platform. And YouTube, which is shipping the YouTube Red brand internationally, in addition to upping content selection (and pricing) for YouTube TV, is interested, CEO Susan Wojcicki told Recode’s Code Media confab this week in Huntington Beach, Calif.
But without deep-pocket market leader Netflix, which steadfastly declines any interest in live sports, dramatically up the bidding price, streaming rights should remain reasonably priced considering online viewership to Thursday Night Football pales in comparison to broadcast. An early season game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers generated 373,000 viewers on Prime Video, compared to 14.6 million for broadcast.