Live sports has long been one of the high hurdles for cord cutters. You can have Hulu and Netflix and iTunes, but none of those can get you your favorite team on game night, and even watching online requires cable-provider credentials to start streaming. That changed a little last year when Twitter scored the rights to broadcast ten Thursday-night football games in the 2016 season for the bargain price of $10 million (tiny in comparison to the $450 million CBS and NBC cumulatively paid for the same TNF privileges). And now Recode and The Wall Street Journal are reporting that Amazon Prime members will have online access to Thursday-night games for the upcoming 2017 season. The price of the deal jumped up to $50 million for the same ten-game package, and like Twitter before it, Amazon will stream the CBS and NBC feeds of the games — each entity has the rights to five games — complete with the networks’ native advertising.
Unlike the Twitter deal, Recode reports that Amazon will not have an exclusive streaming deal, with CBS and NBC broadcasting games on their own sites, and Verizon providing access to its wireless subscribers. Another difference is that Amazon’s games will still be behind a paywall. People didn’t even have to log on to Twitter to stream games last year, but now they’ll have to be Prime subscribers to get access. The real winner here, though, is clearly the NFL, which will be getting double paid for the second straight year for games it has already sold the rights to. Shrewd move, Roger Goodell. Shrewd move.