With fewer viewers watching NFL games on TV, the race for online video content amongst social media heavyweights is on. The NFL remains the most valuable programming in the United States, and while Facebook recently unveiled Facebook Watch, a new platform for shows, Amazon Prime has been at the forefront with its Over-The-Top content (OTT). Here’s a look at some of the latest developments from this week:
TNF comes to Amazon: Earlier this year, Amazon won the rights to stream the NFL Thursday Night Football package to the tune of $50M, which was significantly more than the $10M Twitter paid the previous year. They outbid companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook. TNF kicks off on Amazon Prime tonight, with the Bears visiting the Packers. It’s the first of 11 streamed games that will be made available to their millions of subscribers across the globe, which includes over 200 countries. Some of the branded programming content includes the Amazon TNF Kickoff Show featuring Tiki Barber and celebrity chef Curtis Stone and Trivia with Alexa, in tandem with Amazon’s custom viewing boxes. The brown boxes, colored like a football, have a “Thursday Night Football” logo and a “Stream Live with Prime Membership” bug. With the 2018 TNF streaming package soon up for bid, you can be sure their competitors will be watching closely to determine how much this NFL offering is actually worth. If last year’s negotiation is any indication, the bid for next year’s rights could exceed $100M.
NFL, Facebook partner: The NFL and Facebook announced a multi-year deal Tuesday to deliver official NFL video and other types of content to fans around the world. The NFL will publish NFL Game Recaps and official highlights from all 256 regular-season games (as well as the playoffs and Super Bowl) that will be available globally on Facebook. In addition, NFL Media, the League’s owned and operated media division, will distribute uniquely packaged content from its award-winning production arm, NFL Films, on Facebook’s Watch platform. NFL Turning Point, Sound FX and NFL Game Recaps will be posted each week during the NFL season and will be available to people in the U.S. on Watch. “We’re excited for Watch to become a destination for NFL fans to catch up on the latest on-field action and connect with one another,” said Dan Reed, Facebook’s Head of Global Sports Partnerships, in a released statement. “These full-game recaps and shows will deliver comprehensive coverage while enabling the active NFL fan communities on Facebook to watch and debate the top storylines from each week.”
Head help ahead: In other NFL-related tech news, the league announced that it has awarded a total of $426,000 in grants to three firms as part of its HeadHealthTECH Challenge, which is designed to advance improvements in those areas. Baytech Products of Asheville, N.C., was awarded a $178,000 grant to build and test its prototype HitGard, a multi-component helmet system. Also receiving $148,000 will be Windpact of Leesburg, Va., to support prototyping and testing of its Crash Cloud, an impact liner system using restricted air flow and foam in helmets. Getting $100,000 will be 2ND Skull of Pittsburgh, Pa., to further evaluate the effectiveness of its skull cap in reducing impact forces and developing a second-generation version. Launched in November 2016, the TECH Challenge series is operated and managed on behalf of Football Research Inc., by Duke University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute.