Future of live sports? How Amazon streamed NFL games to 200 countries and 600 types of devices
Signal acquisition, content ingestion, transcoding, ad insertion, playback optimization, and end-to-end monitoring probably weren’t top of mind for NFL fans who watched Thursday Night Football this season on Amazon.
But developing and implementing the technology required to stream live sports over the internet to millions of viewers in more than 200 countries at the same time is no easy task — and Amazon, for the most part, scored a touchdown with its first attempt at live football.
The Seattle tech giant last week streamed its 10th Thursday Night Football game as part of a deal worth a reported $50 million it signed earlier this year for the rights to stream the games. The NFL made a similar deal with Twitter last season, reportedly for a much cheaper price, as it tests new ways for fans to watch games as more and more cancel their cable subscriptions.
The NFL streaming deal is part of Amazon’s growing video arm that includes the company’s Prime video library; its Amazon Studios production unit; and other sports-related live streaming deals. Amazon spent $4.5 billion this year on video content.
Across the 10 NFL games — Amazon will also stream the Steelers vs. Texas bout on Dec. 25 — the company has attracted more than 17 million viewers, or an average of 1.7 million per game, which is slightly down from Twitter’s numbers last season.