The NFL will nearly double its media revenue to more than $10 billion a season with new rights agreements announced Thursday, including a deal with Amazon Prime Video that gives the streaming service exclusive rights to Thursday night football beginning in 2022. The league took in $5.9 billion a year in its current contracts. It will collect $113 billion over the 11 seasons of the new deals that begin in 2023, an increase of 80% over the previous such period, the AP reports. The figures were not made public. "This provides our fans with greater access. We want to provide our games on more platforms than ever before,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. Amazon has streamed Thursday night games since 2017, but it will take over the entire package from Fox, which has had it since 2018. Amazon streamed a Saturday game between the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals last year that was seen by an estimated 11.2 total viewers and had an average minute audience of 4.8 million. That was a record for the largest audience to stream an NFL game.
"Over the last five years we have started the migration to streaming. This is another large step in this direction," said New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Games will continue to air on CBS, Fox, NBC, and ESPN, while ABC will have a limited schedule and will return to the Super Bowl rotation for the first time since the 2005 season. ESPN's deal was scheduled to end after 2021, while the others expired a year later, but ESPN will have a bridge deal for 2022. With the exception of Amazon, the new deals will begin with the 2023 season. Games on Amazon will also be carried on over-the-air broadcast stations in the cities of the participating teams, which is also the case with games aired on ESPN and NFL Network. The contract also expands digital rights for the other networks. With the hefty new contracts, the 32 teams and their players can look forward to increased salary caps throughout the decade. The cap fell by nearly $16 million this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The regular season schedule will add a game, to 17, probably starting this year.
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