Amazon may soon become the exclusive home for Thursday Night Football. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, the NFL is "on the verge" of signing new deals with broadcasters as well as Amazon, which would become the sole national option for watching Thursday night games.
The Journal says the deals "could be in place as early as next week," though the Amazon deal wouldn't take effect until after the 2022 season. Fox currently has the rights to Thursday Night Football, though some games are also broadcast on the NFL Network and streamed on Amazon Prime Video, Amazon-owned Twitch and the NFL and Yahoo Sports apps.
The WSJ notes that Amazon's existing deal with the NFL also still has two seasons remaining, while the NFL Network would continue to broadcast some "exclusive" games on Thursday and Saturday, similar to its current arrangement.
Amazon has some experience as an exclusive NFL option should the deal be finalized. This past season it was the sole national broadcaster for Week 16's game between the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers, though the game was aired on local TV in the teams' respective home markets. The NFL announced late last year that the number of people who watched the game for at least a minute was 4.8 million, with a total of 10.7 million viewers starting a stream on either Prime Video or Twitch.
As noted by The Hollywood Reporter, the 4.8 million number is the closest comparison with how Neilsen counts traditional TV ratings. Traditional Thursday Night Football games that aired exclusively on the NFL Network and local markets averaged 5.56 million viewers.
Amazon and the NFL declined to comment.