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2020 was, clearly, a disaster in every way imaginable for the NFL. League insiders say teams missed out on a collective $3-$4 billion in revenue last season.

But nothing can hold the NFL down for long.

The league is reportedly closing in on a string of blockbuster media deals that would involve TV networks re-upping at nearly double their current rate, and Amazon paying as much as $1 billion for exclusive rights to Thursday night football.

Bezos and Goodell Besties

Amazon has held streaming rights to Thursday night games since 2017, a right they have shared with league-owned NFL Network and Fox Network:

  • Aside from local markets, the new deal would take TV competition off the table, and Amazon would be the only place to watch a “significant” number of Thursday night games.
  • It’s unclear how much Amazon would financially benefit, at least in the short run. The networks that previously aired Thursday games were losing around $200 million annually.

As for the traditional broadcast deals, the NFL is doing well there, too. The annual fees for Fox’s and NBC’s Sunday Rights — which are expected to last 11 years — will be close to $2 billion. That’s double what they pay now.

Those increases come after regular season ratings fell about 7% in 2020 and the Super Bowl faced its worse ratings in 14 years.

the takeaway

Media analyst Michael Nathanson commented: “This is a sign that the NFL wants to take as much (money) as they can for as long as they can.” As the kids would say, thank you captain obvious.

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