April 26, 2018 / 9:00 PM / 4 months ago

Amazon, NFL reach $130 million streaming deal for Thursday night games: source

(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc agreed to pay the National Football League about $65 million per year to stream two more seasons of Thursday night games on its Prime Video service, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

NFL Football - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots - Super Bowl LII - U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. - February 4, 2018 Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LII REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The price tag, about 30 percent more than Amazon paid for the rights last season, underscores how the online retailer values sportscasts as a way to attract people to its lucrative loyalty club Prime, which offers video streaming and speedy delivery. More than 100 million people pay for Prime globally, and members tend to shop more on Amazon, boosting profit.

Amazon also on Thursday reported a surge in first-quarter profit and a rosy outlook for the spring, surprising all but the most optimistic on Wall Street.

Amazon and the National Football League said in a news release on Thursday they had renewed their streaming deal for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. They did not disclose financial terms.

The deal gives Amazon the digital rights to 11 Thursday night football games also broadcast by Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, which paid more than $3 billion to air the next five seasons.

Bidding for the digital rights was competitive. Amazon beat out others including Twitter Inc and Google’s YouTube, the person said. Twitter declined to comment, and YouTube did not immediately return a request for comment.

Amazon has been building out its lineup of sports programming to lure more viewers, including a deal to stream the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and a documentary series following different NFL teams called “All or Nothing.”

Reuters reported last month that broad-interest programs were helping lure viewers to Prime cheaply, with about 26 million U.S. subscribers tuning in to Prime Video as of early 2017.

Amazon had more than 18 million total viewers over 11 games this past football season, the company said in its shareholder letter published last week.

Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco and Anirban Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Lisa Shumaker

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