Monday's NFL: Amazon to take over 'Thursday Night Football' package in 2022

Associated Press
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Amazon Prime Video will become the exclusive home of the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” package a year earlier than originally anticipated.

Amazon and the league announced Monday that Prime Video will take over the entire package in 2022, which will make it an 11-season deal through 2032. It was originally supposed to begin in 2023 when the league’s new media rights deals kick in.

Joseph Toliver, 4, plays on one of the 32 NFL team helmets on display in downtown Cleveland during the draft.

This is the first time a streaming service has had the full rights to an NFL package.

“This expedited deal is an immediate differentiator for us as a service, as it gives Prime members exclusive access to the most popular sport in the United States,” Marie Donoghue, Amazon’s vice president of global sports video, said in a statement.

Prime Video will carry 15 regular-season games on Thursday night along with one preseason game. Games will be available on stations in the markets of the participating teams, which is the same practice when they are on ESPN and NFL Network.

NBC has the opening game of the season and also Thanksgiving night, and there is no Thursday night match in the final week of the schedule.

Amazon has partnered with the league to stream 11 Thursday night games since 2017, but it will take over the entire package from Fox, which has had it since 2018. Amazon streamed a Week 16 Saturday game between the 49ers and Cardinals last year that was seen by an estimated 11.2 million total viewers and had an average minute audience of 4.8 million. That was the largest audience to stream an NFL game.

Fox and NFL Network will broadcast “Thursday Night Football” this season. The league will announce the schedule on May 12.

NFL Network, which has carried games since 2006, will still have seven regular-season games, most likely on Saturday late in the season.

Amazon’s $13.2 billion agreement with the league is a part of what will be $113 billion coming to the NFL under the new rights agreements negotiated in March. That is an increase of 80% over the current deals.

Extra points

Bills quarterback Josh Allen and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds are staying around for at least two more seasons.

The Bills exercised the fifth-year options of both players’ contracts and retained the 2018 first-round draft picks through the 2022 season. The move comes at a combined price of about $36 million, with Allen set to make nearly $23 million in his final year.

… The Bears are parting with veteran left tackle Charles Leno Jr., who started every game the past five seasons and 93 in a row dating to 2015.

The move comes after the Bears traded up to draft Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins in the second round on Friday.

… Titans fourth-round draft pick Rashad Weaver has been charged with simple assault following an incident in Pittsburgh last month.

The complaint against Weaver, who played defensive end at the University of Pittsburgh, was filed Friday, a day before the Titans selected Weaver with the 135th overall pick in the draft.

… The Cowboys declined the fifth-year option on linebacker Leighton Vander Esch’s rookie contract, setting up an interesting season at the position after the club drafted Penn State’s Micah Parsons 12th overall.

… The Vikings declined the fifth-year contract option for cornerback Mike Hughes, with the injury-hampered 2018 first-round pick’s future with the team in doubt.

… The Falcons picked up receiver Calvin Ridley’s fifth-year option, meaning he will make $11.1 million in 2022 and be in line for a long-term deal.

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