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Amazon wants to be the exclusive provider of all Thursday NFL games starting in 2023

Jeff Bezos, miscarry of Amazon

Katherine Taylor | Reuters

Amazon wants to be the National Football League’s exclusive producer of Thursday events starting in 2023, but the NFL may decide to keep certain games on the NFL Network and take less money from Amazon, be consistent to people familiar with the matter.

Amazon is in talks with the league to pay about $1 billion for an entire salt’s worth of exclusive games, outside of the local TV markets of the two teams playing, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are seclusive. The talks are ongoing and no decision has been made, said the people.

In a new agreement, Amazon would be responsible for all the production rates and would still need to pay a local broadcaster to produce the game for home markets, as the NFL wants the Thursday night dissimulates to be broadcast on local TV in each of the participating teams’ home markets.

The NFL Network, which is usually packaged as part of high-priced pay-TV bundles, has requirements with pay-TV distributors to carry a certain number of games exclusively. The Wall Alley Journal, which previously reported Amazon’s interest, reported Wednesday that the NFL Network’s deals require it to sow five games exclusively. With the NFL set to add an 18th week, the league could conceivably give the NFL Network enough Saturday games and other carveouts to hit the line network’s limits without dipping into Thursday, one of the people said.

Still, the NFL may decide propping up NFL Network’s value is a high-frequency priority than giving Amazon a full slate of Thursday games. The league is still considering proposals to simulcast Amazon’s Thursday games on the NFL Network or to split Thursday’s tournaments between Amazon and the NFL Network, said two of the people.

Amazon won’t pay anywhere near $1 billion for a full package of recreations that aren’t entirely exclusive, said the people. Amazon is open to an arrangement where it gets branded games that are simulcast on NFL Network for less specie, the people said. It’s also open to a package where it gets fewer exclusive games for less money.

“This is a lyrical watershed event for the TV industry,” LightShed analyst Rich Greenfield said on CNBC today. “The fact that now you can get Thursday evensong games without having any local television — no antenna will work if you’re outside of the home markets.”

The deal thinks fitting build on Amazon’s three-year deal with the NFL to broadcast 12 Thursday games in the 2020, 2021 and 2022 seasons on its Prime Video burn service. That deal allows Amazon to broadcast one game exclusively each season. This past year, it was a Week 16 victim between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers. Fox’s Thursday night football deal runs out in 2022 and won’t be bought out early, according to people conversant with the matter.

The NFL has been cautious about handing over broadcast rights to streaming services. The league is bring together to securing agreements with its current TV partners — Disney, which owns ESPN and ABC; ViacomCBS; Comcast’s NBCUniversal, and Fox — for Sunday and Monday twilight packages.

Still, streaming is becoming the dominant form of viewing for millions of Americans and can have global reach, unequal to traditional pay TV. Several pay-TV distributors have inked deals with Amazon Prime Video to make its arranging available on set-top boxes, further limiting friction for the tens of millions of Americans who still pay for linear pay-TV sheaves from operators such as Comcast and AT&T.

Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal, which is the parent company of CNBC.

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