With NFL broadcast contracts coming to fruition for all three legacy networks at the end of next year, an emerging player is already setting the stage for what may be a once-in-a-generation shift in how we watch football.

49ers Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (29) dives past San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (56) to score a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, CA, in September. Saturday’s rematch will be the NFL’s first Amazon-only broadcast viewable by Prime Video Subscribers in 240 countries. (Image: AP)

You can see the beginning of what that change looks like this holiday season on Amazon, which has set up its Prime Video and Twitch streaming services for what it’s billing as an “NFL Holiday Blitz.”

Exclusive Streaming Content Starts X-Mas Day

The streamed football games start on Christmas Day when Prime Video and Twitch, a streaming service Amazon acquired in 2014 for just under $1 billion, will offer the Minnesota Vikings-New Orleans Saints game. The streams will follow Amazon’s Thursday night programming rules, with Fox and the NFL Network airing the game simultaneously on terrestrial TV.

The week culminates with Amazon’s exclusive stream of the San Francisco 49ers-Arizona Cardinals game on Saturday. The game will be streamed on Prime Video and Twitch to more than 150 million paid Prime members worldwide in more than 240 countries.

The game will also be televised in both teams’ home markets on NBC affiliate KNTV in San Francisco, and on FOX affiliate KSAZ in Arizona.

Amazon Bringing the House with Celebs, Alternative Broadcasts, and Big Data

Along with the games themselves, Amazon will air NFL-related original content on Prime Video, Twitch, and on social media featuring the likes of Action Bronson, Andrew Hawkins, Brandon Aiyuk, Dan Gamache, James Koh, Kay Adams, Kenyan Drake, Kickasso, Kyle Long, Quavo, Ron Everline (JustTrain), and Victor Cruz.

“We hope Prime members around the world are gearing up for a safe and happy holiday season,” Amazon’s VP of Global Sports Video, Marie Donoghue, said in a statement Monday. “With multiple announcers to choose from, Next Gen Stats, and on-demand replays from X-Ray, the NFL on Prime Video has a little something for everyone.”

Under the current eight-year agreement, ESPN paid the NFL $1.9 billion for each season. The broadcast rights for the three broadcast networks all expire in 2022.

With its current nine-year agreement for Sunday games, Fox pays $1.2 billion to the NFL. NBC pays $1.1 billion, and CBS $1 billion per season. As coverage and playoffs expand, both the networks and the NFL’s owners say they expect a bidding war with tech giants like Amazon, Facebook, Google (YouTube), Netflix, and Apple joining the fray as contracts expire.

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