Amazon Bets $50 Million on Streaming Football to Prime Customers

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) leaps over Tampa Bay defenders free safety Bradley McDougald (30) and strong safety Keith Tandy (37) in the first quarter on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Credit: Khampha Bouaphanh / Fort Worth Star-Telegram / Getty Images

That Prime subscription keeps paying for itself. The NFL has worked out a $50 million deal with Amazon that grants the e-commerce giant streaming rights to the league’s Thursday night games.

It’s great news for Amazon Prime customers, who already enjoy enhanced shipping speeds on orders, as well as a robust catalog of streaming movies and television titles. The same $99-per-year fee that unlocks all of it now makes football games streamable within the same Amazon ecosystem.

This means it’s never been easier to cut the proverbial cord, particularly if you're solely a football fan. Companies such as Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix offer streaming services so fully featured that customers might subscribe to one (or several) streaming companies and shun a conventional television subscription entirely. Sure, they’re saving significant money each month, but one pain point consistently presents itself again and again to would-be cord-cutters: It’s still hard to watch live sports online. Now Amazon is meddling in such a way to make it easier.

According to the New York Times, Twitter paid $10 million for similar NFL streaming rights in 2016, but the viewership wasn’t where it needed to be in order to be deemed significant; there were about 266,000 people per minute watching games via Twitter, whereas broadcast and cable numbers were around 15.8 million.

This ought to be expected, as Twitter has a much smaller user base. Amazon makes a more compelling vehicle for NFL streaming because the company is positively associated with streaming video, and it also has 60 million households already equipped with Amazon Prime. Plus, where else can you watch a game and order a 64-pack of Cool Ranch Doritos?