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Report: DIRECTV Closes in on Deal to Air Prime Video’s ‘Thursday Night Football’ in Bars, Restaurants

Stephen Silver

The question of which streaming service will win rights to broadcast the NFL’s out-of-market TV package beginning in 2023 has not yet been answered, especially as more deep-pocketed outlets enter the bidding. However, there are reports that the NFL Sunday Ticket’s longtime home is close to reaching a deal for another major property of NFL rights.

According to Sports Business Journal, Amazon and DIRECTV are nearing a deal that will allow the satellite company to carry the league’s “Thursday Night Football” package in bars, restaurants, and other commercial establishments. The Thursday games will be broadcast exclusively on Prime Video beginning next month and mark the first time that the NFL has bestowed rights for a season-long package to a streaming service. While “nothing has been signed and specific deal terms have not leaked,” a deal is close, sources told SBJ.

The interest in DIRECTV being part of the “TNF” package comes as many bars and restaurants lack an easy way to put the Amazon streaming service on their TVs, and since many have access to DIRECTV from years of airing the Sunday Ticket, the satellite company is the perfect partner to bridge the gap.

For example, per the report, national chain Buffalo Wild Wings does not have the technology in all of its stores to carry Prime Video on all of its TVs, and latency issues have raised the possibility that bars with several TVs could see streams not sync carrying across multiple TVs.

It’s believed that if, as expected, the Sunday Ticket package lands on a streaming service, DIRECTV will seek a similar deal to continue to carry the package in commercial establishments, and possibly even for current DIRECTV subscribers.

DirecTV has been the exclusive carrier of NFL Sunday Ticket for nearly the entire lifespan of the package since launching in 1994. The package allows fans to watch NFL games other than the ones that are airing in their home market. Many bars and restaurants offer the Sunday Ticket in order to attract fans of out-of-town teams.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last month that he expects a new Sunday Ticket partner to be announced by the fall. While Apple TV+ and Prime Video have long been seen as the two favorites, in July, Google made a last-minute bid to bring the package to YouTube.

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