Sports | November 24, 2021 9:28 am

Report: Amazon Emerges as Favorite in Race to Buy Stake in NFL’s Media Properties

America's richest sports league is reportedly looking to sell off a 49% stake in NFL Network, RedZone and NFL.com

A giant Amazon logo on the side of a new distribution center in France
A giant Amazon logo on the side of a new distribution center in France.
SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty

The richest professional sports league in America is reportedly looking to sell off a 49% stake in NFL Network, RedZone and NFL.com to the ever-growing tech and commerce company that’s owned by the world’s richest man.

Per a report from Front Office Sports, Jeff Bezos’s Amazon has surged to the front of the pack in the race to secure a minority stake in the NFL’s media properties on the heels of already locking down the rights to exclusively stream Thursday Night  Football on Prime Video starting next season for the price of $1 billion a year.

Amazon, which has been airing Thursday Night Football since 2017 as part of a broadcast package that also includes Fox and NFL Network, is bidding for the rights to a stake against “multiple media, private equity and tech bidders” for pro football’s media properties, according to FOS.

“There’s so much we don’t know about what could be in the deal,” Ed Desser, president of Desser Media and former president of NBA Television and New Media Ventures, told the publication. “The NFL is also very, very good about going to the dance with the one that brought it. Amazon has now been in the family for years. They get a preferred position just like the other major networks.”

In addition being in the mix to get a piece of the NFL Network, RedZone and NFL.com, Amazon is also reportedly competing with Disney, Apple, Paramount and others to acquire the rights to the NFL’s lucrative “Sunday Ticket” package for a price that could finalize at $2 billion to $3 billion per year.

“You are selling [the NFL] on the whole package,” Robert Wood, professor of strategic management in the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business at San Jose State, told FOS. “Amazon is in a position to credibly promise things that others can’t. That puts you in a position to structure your package with pieces others don’t have.”

Whatever ends up happening or not with Amazon or any other potential or actual buyer, investing in the NFL appears to be a smart move, as the league continues to draw high viewership while many other traditional television options continue to struggle to attract eyes. Thanksgiving’s three-game slate of NFL games, especially the Bears-Lions appetizer which could be the finale for Bears coach Matt Nagy, projects to be the exception, not the rule, in terms of ratings.

If Amazon Prime membership, which currently charges customers either $12.99 a month or $119 a year, ends up including access to the “Sunday Ticket” package, it’ll be a bargain for football fans, and a moneymaker for Bezos.