Amazon, DirecTV Announce ‘TNF’ Deal for Bars, Other Venues

  • Multiyear deal clears way for ‘TNF’ games to be beamed to 300,000 establishments.
  • Amazon Prime has exclusive rights to all 15 Thursday regular-season games.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Those headed to their favorite bars to watch “Thursday Night Football” won’t have to worry about buffering.

Amazon and DirecTV made a multiyear deal official Tuesday, a pact that will allow Thursday NFL games to be beamed instead of streamed to 300,000 bars, restaurants, casinos, and other venues. 

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

While DirecTV and competitor, Dish, have pushed their streaming offerings over its once-revolutionary direct-broadcast satellite system, streaming to sports bars with several flat screens can be problematic, especially in areas that don’t have reliable high-speed broadband. 

“This agreement between Amazon and DirecTV for Business comes at an important time when more streaming companies are obtaining exclusive rights to marquee sports programming and fans want to cheer on their teams at home and while out at bars, restaurants and other businesses with friends, family and coworkers,”  Rob Thun, DirecTV’s chief content officer, said in a statement. 

Amazon Prime will remain the only way to watch TNF from home, part of the 11-year, $1 billion per year deal that commences with this Thursday’s preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Houston Texans. 

Amazon is the first streaming service to have exclusive rights to NFL games, although games will be shared with local affiliates in participating markets. For example, KSHB, the NBC affiliate in Kansas City, will broadcast the first TNF game of the regular season as the Chiefs face the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2. 

It’s anticipated there will be a similar setup when Sunday Ticket — which debuted on DirecTV in 1994 — is expected to go to a major streaming platform after the upcoming season. 

DirecTV currently pays about $1.5 billion per season, but the NFL has been in talks with Amazon, Google, Apple, and Disney for a deal that could pay nearly double for the out-of-market games.

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