Amazon looks like it’s lining up to intercept Thursday Night Football.
Amazon Negotiating Exclusive Rights to Select NFL Games
Denny Medley-USA TODAY/Design: Alex Brooks
Last season, fans had the option of watching Thursday Night Football on Amazon. Soon, for some games, it might be the only choice.
Amazon is in talks with the NFL over exclusive broadcast rights to some Thursday Night Football games,according to the Wall Street Journal.
The tech giant has broadcast TNF matches since 2017 on Amazon Prime Video but has never done so exclusively, sharing games with Fox and the NFL Network in years past.
However, Fox has lost interest in the midweek games, and no other legacy provider seems eager to take its place. Amazon, in its most aggressive move to date into live sports, may take advantage of the traditional networks’ reticence.
Should Amazon secure exclusive rights, they won’t be cheap. The NFL is poised to double the price of its broadcasting contracts in the deals it’s negotiating with CBS, NBC, Disney, and Fox.
Amazon pays between $75-100 million annually for non-exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football in a deal that runs for two more seasons.
Live sports is “the most important Jenga block holding up the entire legacy media ecosystem,” said LightShed media analyst Rich Greenfield. Amazon’s move could shake the foundation.
Overtime’s Pro League for Teenagers
Overtime, R. Schumacher-AZ Republic/Design: Alex Brooks
Get a driver’s license, play basketball, and bring home a six-figure salary.
Sports media company Overtime announced that it plans to start the Overtime Elite league for 16- to 18-year-olds as a nontraditional route to the NBA. Each of its 30 players would make at least $100,000 per year with full health care benefits and a tailored academic curriculum.
“OTE is leading the way on that front by offering players a comprehensive route that fully develops the athlete — not just basketball skills, but education, economic empowerment, and building their own brand,” said OTE investor and board member Carmelo Anthony. Kevin Durant and VC firm Andreessen Horowitz are investors as well.
Players will also receive shares of equity in Overtime, and earn revenue from the use of their name, image and likeness — a hot topic for college athletes in recent years.
The NBA changed its eligibility requirements in 2006, requiring incoming players to be at least 19 years old. No longer able to join the league after high school, many phenoms now play in college for one year. But OTE is not the first to rule out traditional collegiate play.
G League Ignite launched just last year, hosting exhibition games with NBA prospects and veterans.
Jalen Lecque and Anfernee Simons played in high school for five years, waiting to turn 19.
Others, like LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton, played overseas.
LaMelo’s father, LaVar Ball, spearheaded the short-lived Junior Basketball Association as an NCAA alternative in 2017.
“We’re doing it based on the observation of how these young athletes are trying to change the system and make it work for them,” said CEO Dan Porter.
Overtime Elite starts in September in an undisclosed city.
Nominate the Next Rising 25
The ’90s gave us unforgettable sporting moments – The Dream Team, U.S. Women’s Olympic Soccer team taking gold, Tiger winning his first major and of course, the release of NBA Jam.
Now in its fifth year, the Rising 25 Award, presented by Anheuser-Busch, shines a spotlight on the brightest young stars in the business of sports.
Know someone that should be included in our starting lineup? Nominations are open now through Wednesday, March 23. Winners will be announced in May and honored at an event this fall.
UFC and DraftKings Join The Fight
DraftKings, Handout Photo-USA TODAY/Design: Alex Brooks
UFC pinned down its first official deal with a sportsbook.
DraftKings advertised during UFC fights last year in Abu Dhabi, but this agreement takes their partnership to new heights.
The mixed martial arts promotion and DraftKings have entered a five-year partnership in a deal worth more than $100 million, per Sportico. The deal also encompasses a $250 million commitment to promote DraftKings’ UFC products.
“These guys have a platform that is second-to-none,” said Lawrence Epstein, COO of UFC to Sportico. “And that’s what makes this deal so groundbreaking.”
DraftKings gets rights to UFC logos for use across its betting and fantasy products, and the sports betting brand will be promoted on the octagon canvas at select UFC events.
The partnership will be on full display for the first time this weekend at UFC 259.
“This is the most important deal we’ve ever done to increase engagement with our fans and reach new ones, and I’m looking forward to all the exciting things we’re going to do with DraftKings over the next few years,” said UFC President Dana White.
Porsche and the Volkswagen Group are considering entering Formula One if engine regulations in 2025 promote the use of sustainable fuels. Formula One has set a goal of being a net-zero carbon sport by 2030.
The referee crew officiating the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday will be entirely comprised of HBCU graudates — a league first.
Sports data provider Sportradar acquired personalized messaging platform Fresh Eight Ltd. Fresh Eight brings over FanDuel, William Hill, ESPN, and ViacomCBS as clients.
The last time Illinois was a top seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, it reached the 2005 title game. Now, ESPN has the newfound powerhouse as one of four No. 1 seeds — alongside Gonzaga, Baylor, and Michigan. Get more stories like this in Sports Section — a free, daily newsletter. Click here to subscribe.
Four Champions. Three Title Fights.
Champion meets champion as light heavyweight king Jan Blachowicz makes his first title defense against middleweight champ Israel Adesanya.
Plus, Amanda Nunes and Petr Yan put their belts on the line—all at UFC 259, only on ESPN+. Prelims at 8PM/ET, Main Card at 10PM/ET.
Pick: After an impressive win over Philadelphia earlier this week, Pittsburgh, currently fifth in the East, hopes to close the gap between the fourth-place Flyers. The Flyers are 5-2 in their last seven games on the road — take the Philly moneyline and lean under.
Who ya got? Reply to this newsletter with your prediction for the Flyers-Penguins winner and final score. Nail it, and you get a mention in Friday’s FOS PM. Don’t forget to include your Twitter handle.
Shoutout: On Wednesday, we asked subscribers to predict the Warriors-Trail Blazers winner, final score, and high-scorer. Portland won 108-106, and Stephen Curry put up 35 points.
FOS reader Matt Noskow (@edjsports) came closest, picking the Trail Blazers to win 116-115. He also correctly guessed that the highest-scoring individual would drop 35 points, though he expected Dame to get it, not Steph. All around, pretty good!