Last Thursday night’s NFL matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears wasn’t very entertaining, due to the Packers dominating the Bears from the opening snap. However, it was a joy to watch for those of us who have cut the cable cord and moved to a streaming lifestyle. You see, Thursday Night Football is now available on Amazon Prime Video. And that makes me extremely hopeful that the NFL is taking the streaming fan more serious.
The NFL’s past attempts at streaming content were pretty lacking. We’ve seen London games on Yahoo which is just a joke. Yahoo can’t manage their own products, much less an entity like NFL programming. And their next venture with Twitter last year was just as laughable. The NFL has been throwing softballs up until this new agreement for the 2017 season with Amazon. This new move has me thinking that Amazon might give the NFL the platform it’s been looking for to grow its product into the digital TV movement.
The NFL needs a strong streaming partner. They are losing viewers year over year to those of us who have left traditional cable behind. It has to find a way to protect itself from this movement and it has to be one of the big three: Amazon, YouTube, or Netflix. Plus, they need to find a way to maneuver this new medium around their long-standing Sunday Ticket contract with DirecTV. But this is where it gets tricky.
For those that may not know, DirecTV has pretty exclusive rights to the NFL games. You can’t see every game regardless of your location inside the US any other way. There’s no other cable/satellite package or streaming option that gets you every single game. You can finagle the NFL’s own GamePass to accomplish this with some hacking and a VPN, but no other online-only alternative is currently available.
Amazon offers the potential for something like the Sunday Ticket to the web. And it’s not just a money grab for someone like Twitter. This new agreement is a strong partnership between the two behemoths. If this year’s Thursday Night shows have strong viewership, then the NFL may open up the bidding on more games to be simultaneously viewed via the streaming service. This has me super excited.
I’d gladly give the same $65 per month as DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket to be able to watch my Cowboys every week here in TN. But what I don’t want is full DirecTV satellite service. I’m done with any kind of live TV other than the NFL. I love the NFL, but I also love not having a TV bill for most content I don’t watch. I can’t be alone in this combination and I believe the NFL is making the necessary moves to test the waters.
This is all conjecture at this point, but it’s something I’ll keep a close eye on during this season. I’d love to be in the room when the first month’s numbers come into the NFL on how many viewers are using Amazon Prime to watch Thursday Night Football. What about our other NFL fans? Would you pay prices similar to the Sunday Ticket to have all the games on Amazon each week? Sound off in the comments to let us know your thoughts.