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Analysis: NFL deal to boost Prime Video adoption

June 3, 2021

Consumer research featured in Parks Associates’ OTT Video Market Tracker shows 47 per cent of US broadband households currently subscribe to Amazon Prime Video. The landmark content rights deal between Amazon Prime Video and the NFL, reportedly worth $1 billion annually, will help increase the service’s subscription uptake and regular viewers through exclusive rights to stream Thursday night football games.

This arrangement will boost the advertising dollars, data captured, and exposure to sports fans for Amazon’s streaming service. The NFL deal preceded Amazon’s merger with film studio MGM for $8.45 billion. This acquisition will likewise help Amazon boost subscriptions to its Prime and Prime Video services with the addition of MGM’s IP, which includes the James Bond and Robocop franchises. Parks Associates estimates that 77.3 million US households are Amazon Prime members and that roughly 71 per cent watch Prime Video, totalling nearly 55 million households in Q1 2021.

“In its first all-streaming package, the NFL inked a ten-year agreement with Amazon Prime Video for the streaming rights to fifteen Thursday Night Football games and one pre-season game per year in the US, beginning in 2022,” notes Steve Nason, Research Director, Parks Associates. “By offering live games, streaming services give the significant market of NFL fans a reason to subscribe. As OTT becomes an integral part of its strategy, the NFL is working to secure viewers, and profits, for the next decade, and the Amazon partnership represents an outstanding and unprecedented opportunity to set the stage for success.”

Parks Associates research of 10,000 US broadband households finds 55 per cent of pay-TV households consider live sports important in their decision to keep their service. Additionally, more than two-thirds of online pay-TV subscribers and 43 per cent of traditional pay-TV subscribers who cancelled their pay-TV service during Covid-19 were likely to re-subscribe following the return of live sports.

Other major media conglomerates have also expanded their live NFL coverage to incorporate both traditional TV and OTT. The Walt Disney Company will air one international game on ESPN+ and add one exclusive national game yearly beginning in 2022. Additionally, NBCUniversal will air Sunday Night Football on its linear NBC channel and stream select games on its OTT service Peacock.

“Traditional video is dwindling and a diversified distribution strategy is the only logical method of growing NFL viewership,” advises Nason. “While traditional players won’t see reductions to their coverage content, the lack of exclusivity over one of their biggest remaining assets will be detrimental to adding new viewers.”


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