Amazon and DirecTV have come up with an answer to the question many NFL fans have had since the tech giant locked up exclusive rights to NFL Thursday Night Football: Will the game be on at the corner bar?
The companies have struck a multi-year deal to put Amazon’s TNF broadcasts in more than 300,000 sports bars, restaurants, hotel lounges, casinos and sports books, retail shops and services, and other out-of-home venues across the U.S.
The 15 games per season will appear in some national chains with upwards of 1,000 locations or more as well as local, mom-and-pop sites. While streaming is gaining traction as a venue for live sports, the infrastructure of out-of-home locations is friendlier to traditional cable and satellite hookups. Social media has featured complaints as Major League Baseball and other sports have started to put games only on streaming. Latency, the technical term for a lag between the action on the field and the broadcast signal, has also worried many fans, especially those wagering money on sports, but Amazon has offered assurances that it has achieved parity with linear TV in that department.
Amazon paid $1 billion a year for an 11-year deal for Thursday nights, shifting into an exclusive arrangement after years of simulcasting games with linear networks.
“The sports media landscape continues to evolve rapidly, and the focus on delivering a great experience to our entire range of customers must remain at the center of that evolution,” DirecTV Chief Content Officer Rob Thun said. “This agreement between Amazon and DirecTV for Business comes at an important time when more streaming companies are obtaining exclusive rights to marquee sports programming and fans want to cheer on their teams at home and while out at bars, restaurants and other businesses with friends, family and coworkers.”
The setup will debut on Thursday when Prime Video will offer its first preseason action, a game between the San Francisco 49ers at the Houston Texans. The 15-game regular-season slate kicks off September 15 when the LA Chargers visit the defending AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Any current DirecTV for Business customers subscribing to Business Entertainment, Business Xtra, Commercial Entertainment, Commercial Xtra, Commercial Choice Plus and the Spanish-language Commercial Mas Ultra will automatically get the Prime Video TNF feed for no additional cost. The games will be on DirecTV channel 9526 adjacent to other major sports streaming services and events.
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