The NFL announced this month that, beginning in the 2022 season, it would grant Amazon Prime Video exclusive streaming rights for Thursday Night Football games. The announcement marks a seminal moment for online streaming with the potential to fundamentally increase viewership and the ways consumers access NFL games and content.
In a feature for The Athletic, Columbia University Sports Management lecturers Scott Rosner and Tom Richardson provided perspective on the deal. Rosner compared the move to when the NFL debuted exclusive broadcasting deals with cable channels such as ESPN; fans who considered it their “God-given right” to view games on network television were initially shocked by the move. “So think about that first NFL deal with ESPN. Think about the first Major League Baseball deal with ESPN where you just, you couldn’t believe that,” he said. Richardson, who is also the SVP of Strategy and Business Development for Mercury Intermedia, added, “You are now looking at an environment where there’s a larger total addressable market for one of the big streaming services that has a growing sports appetite and growing sports brand.”