DIRECTV this season will provide Thursday Night Football broadcasts to bars and restaurants in a pending deal with Amazon which has the exclusive rights to the games.
That’s according to an article by Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand.
Ourand writes that the companies have yet to sign the deal, but sources tell him that Amazon has agreed to allow DIRECTV to deliver the games to commercial establishments.
Since Amazon won the rights to the Thursday Night Football games last spring, bar and restaurant owners have been concerned that they would be unable to provide them to their customers. Many bars and restaurants would have to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade their Internet infrastructure to handle the games.
In addition, both bar/restaurant owners and fans have voiced concerns that live sports via streaming sometimes comes with a delay of 30-60 seconds behind the real time action. In an era where fans are often engaging in social media exchanges during the game, that could create considerable awkwardness in the bar or restaurant. Patrons could tell their fellow customers the outcome of a play before it happens.
However, DIRECTV has been providing NFL Sunday Ticket games to bars and restaurants for more than two decades, a service that is well regarded within the industry. The satcaster should be able to deliver the Amazon games without difficulty or delays.
The DIRECTV-Amazon partnership, if finalized, could also be a template for a future arrangement between the satellite TV service and the winner of the next NFL Sunday Ticket contract. Streamers Amazon, Apple, Google and Disney (for ESPN+) are all bidding for the rights; the winner might need DIRECTV to again provide the broadcasts to bars and restaurants.
DIRECTV, which is not bidding to retain its exclusive rights to carry the Ticket after the 2022 season, could be interested in subleasing rights from the winning streaming company so it could continue to service bars and restaurants and perhaps rural customers who don’t have reliable access to the Internet.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league is expected to issue a decision on the next contract by year’s end, if not sooner.
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— Phillip Swann