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.