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Amazon Strikes Deal With Draft Kings To Bring Sports Betting-And Hopefully More Viewers-To TNF

David Satin

Will sports betting bring more eyes to “Thursday Night Football” on Prime Video? That’s the gamble Amazon is taking, as on Tuesday, it announced a new partnership with DraftKings to provide pregame and in-game odds for every Thursday night game, beginning Sept. 15.

The deal runs for multiple years and will include DraftKings integrations into every pregame show. The two companies will also collaborate on “TNF”-themed promotions and wagers, including same-game parlays that will be available on the DraftKings app.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with DraftKings to bring fans more insights and excitement as part of the TNF viewing experience,” said Danielle Carney, Head of NFL Sales for Amazon Ads. “DraftKings content will contribute to lively pregame discussions, fan engagement and, perhaps, some bold predictions from our on-air talent.”

The “fan engagement” element of the deal with DraftKings is paramount for Amazon. This is the first year that “TNF” games will be exclusively streamed on Prime Video without a simultaneous linear broadcast. Despite how lucrative a property the NFL is, Amazon is currently expecting to draw fewer viewers to “TNF” after its move to a streaming-only format.

It’s a decent gamble that sports betting will help increase those numbers. Other media companies with a large sports streaming presence have either already integrated sports betting into their platforms, or are exploring ways to do so. Earlier this summer it was reported that Disney was looking into options for more betting integration on ESPN.

“We have found that basically our sports fans that are under 30 absolutely require this type of utility in the overall portfolio of what ESPN offers,” said Disney CEO Bob Chapek regarding the value of offering integrated sports wagering.

This is not the only strategy Prime Video is using to bring a larger audience to “TNF.” The streamer has also made use of ESPN’s “ManningCast” strategy, offering multiple simultaneous streams of game broadcasts with different commentators. Attracting a large audience for “TNF” is even more important for Prime Video than it would appear on the surface. The company is still in the running to land NFL Sunday Ticket when that service leaves DIRECTV following this season, but the NFL will want to be sure that whoever gets the Sunday Ticket rights can continue to bring in the fans—and their cash.

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