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‘Thursday Night Football’ is coming to Amazon Prime next season

Trevor Mogg
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Amazon has scored a deal with the NFL to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games during the upcoming season.

The news, confirmed to Digital Trends via email, is a serious blow to Twitter, which secured the rights for the same coverage last season. This time, however, Amazon outbid not only Twitter, but also YouTube and Facebook, paying a reported $50 million to take the prize — that’s $40 million more than Twitter’s payout last year.

Amazon will stream the games on its $99-a-year Prime service, which besides TV and movie content also offers access to ebooks and music, and free and fast delivery for its online store customers. The football coverage will be viewable by Prime members around the world.

Thursday Night Football also airs on NBC, CBS, and the NFL Network cable channel. CBS and NBC reportedly each pay $225 million a year to broadcast five Thursday night games a season.

Amazon will use the networks’ pictures, according to Recode, and also show their ads. However, the Seattle-based company will have some slots of its own to sell, though a source suggested it’ll likely use some of them to highlight Prime’s other video content.

More: Facebook inks deal with MLS to live-stream soccer games

The deal with the NFL marks the ecommerce giant’s first major move into live-streaming, aside from efforts with Twitch, the gamer-focused live-streaming platform that Amazon bought for almost $1 billion in 2014.

The company will also be hoping the new content will help to persuade more people to sign up to Prime. Similar attention-grabbing deals recently inked by Amazon include those with, for example, the former Top Gear trio for the all-new The Grand Tour car show, which began streaming on Prime in 2016.

But the real loser here is clearly Twitter, which has been working to position itself as a live-streaming platform. The struggling company made much of the NFL deal last year, which allowed sports fans around the world to access the coverage even without a Twitter account. However, the setback is unlikely to deter it from continuing to seek out similar opportunities to add to its current line-up of streaming offerings that currently include NHL, MLB, and PGA coverage.