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  1. Amazon Prime Video to Stream Thursday Night NFL Games Photo: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images In a milestone for streaming services, Amazon Prime Video will now be the exclusive home of the NFL’s Thursday night games, Deadline reported today. The service, which partnered with the NFL Network and Fox to handle Thursday Night Football in 2017, is reportedly paying $1 billion for a season’s worth of games. This marks the first time a streamer has gotten exclusive access to a package of NFL games (earlier this year, Amazon Prime Video became the first streamer to exclusively air an NFL-playoff game). NFL commissioner Roger Goodell praised the deal in an official statement, saying, “These new media deals will provide our fans even greater access to the games they love. We’re proud to grow our partnerships with the most innovative media companies in the market.” Everyday, the world inches closer and closer to this Onion article. Source: Amazon Prime Video to Stream Thursday Night NFL Games
  2. The NFL is asking for a 100% increase in TV rights payments, but Disney is pushing back KEY POINTS The NFL wants a 100% price increase from its network league partners, sources say. Negotiations are actively underway with NBC, CBS, Fox and Disney -- which owns both ESPN and ABC. Disney has already rejected a 100% increase, citing the high price tag it already pays for Monday Night Football relative to other packages, sources say. New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) catches a pass in front of Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Terrell Edmunds (34) and linebacker Devin Bush (55) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Vincent Carchietta | USA TODAY Sports The National Football League wants to charge its current network partners double what they’ve been paying to broadcast games — but Disney is pushing back, citing the high price tag for Monday Night Football. The NFL is in active discussions on renewal rates with all four of its existing network partners — NBC, CBS, Fox, and Disney-owned ESPN, according to people familiar with the matter. The NFL is hoping to get its primary package renewals completed by March 17, before the start of the new NFL league year, CNBC reported earlier this month. NBC, CBS and Fox are likely to accept increases closer to 100% than Disney, which is currently paying much more than the three broadcast networks for its Monday Night Football package, said the people, who asked not to be named because the negotiations are private. Disney agreed to pay $1.9 billion annually for Monday Night Football in 2011 — a deal that runs through 2021. That dwarfed the average $1.1 billion annual cost for Fox, $1 billion annual price tag for CBS and $960 million for NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Disney has already rejected paying anywhere close to $3.8 billion per year for its new deal, said two of the people. Disney CEO Bob Chapek alluded to pushing back on the NFL’s asking price during his company’s earnings conference call last week. “We’re looking at the long-term trends of sports viewership,” Chapek said on Feb. 11. “We’ve had a long relationship with the NFL. If there’s a deal that will be accretive to shareholder value, we will certainly entertain that and look at that. But our first filter will be to say whether it makes sense for shareholder value going forward.” NFL games have been the most watched programming on television for many years. The top five broadcasts of 2020 were all NFL games. But there’s been a concerning decline among younger audiences, as evidenced by a decade-long decline in Super Bowl ratings among 18-to-49-year-olds. Disney’s negotiation Disney’s Monday Night Football deal is for more than just the games. Disney also gets highlight rights for ESPN, branding rights for shows, and — importantly — streaming rights. The league has asked Disney to pay the same type of increase as its other partners because Disney is asking for more from the NFL this time around — including double-header Monday Night games, where one game airs on ABC, the Disney-owned broadcast network, the people said. Disney also wants ABC to become part of the Super Bowl rotation with NBC, CBS and Fox. ABC was the home of Monday Night Football until 2005. Disney also wants flexibility in terms of streaming rights as the company considers selling ESPN as a direct-to-consumer product. The NFL plans to include streaming rights as part of each network package, the people said. Further, the NFL wants to add an 18th week of regular-season play as soon as next season. That’s an extra game for Disney — and every other broadcast partner. Spokespeople for the NFL and the networks declined to comment. Source: The NFL is asking for a 100% increase in TV rights payments, but Disney is pushing back
  3. NFL commissioner offers all 30 of its stadiums for vaccine distribution Stadiums in Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, North Carolina, Houston, Miami and Massachusetts are already being used for the coronavirus shots. A view of Raymond James Stadium ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell has sent a letter to President Joe Biden offering all 30 NFL stadiums for use for "mass vaccinations of the general public in coordination with local, state, and federal health officials." Seven NFL stadiums are already being used in this way, according to the letter, shared online by CNN. Although the NFL has 32 teams, there are 30 stadiums because the New York Jets and Giants share one, as do the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers. A representative for the NFL didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Goodell's letter tells the president that the NFL is "committed to doing our part to ensure that vaccines are as widely accessible in our communities as possible" and notes that many of the stadiums should be able to ramp up quickly, as they have already been used as coronavirus testing centers and election sites. The president has called for 100 mass vaccination centers to be set up around the country within one month. Military troops and federal employees will help staff some of them. Stadiums in Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, North Carolina, Houston, Miami and Massachusetts are already being used as vaccination locations, the Independent reports. Other sports arenas and large destinations are also being used as centers, including California's Disneyland and Six Flags Magic Mountain theme parks. The letter, dated Feb. 4, comes just days before Sunday's Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, scheduled for Tampa's Raymond James Stadium. Around 7,500 vaccinated health care workers have been given free tickets to the game. Source: NFL commissioner offers all 30 of its stadiums for vaccine distribution
  4. Football will continue to be a force in the United Kingdom. The NFL on Tuesday confirmed that London will host four regular-season games in 2019 at Wembley Stadium and the new stadium being built for Tottenham Hotspur. The league did not specify which teams will make the trip overseas or when the games will take place. "The games in the past few weeks have once again demonstrated the incredible passion of NFL fans in the UK," NFL executive vice president Mark Waller said in a statement. "The support of our stadium partners, the Mayor of London and the Minister for Sport gives us a great foundation for further development of the sport and the ability to give our fans even more NFL games in the coming years." The NFL has played 24 regular-season games in the UK since first playing there in 2007, with 29 of the league's 32 teams appearing at least once. Source
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