If you’re looking to watch the Arizona Cardinals face off against the San Francisco 49ers on December 26, you are going to need access to Amazon Prime or Twitch. Though the early and late games that day–the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs the Detroit Lions and the Miami Dolphins vs the Las Vegas Raiders, respectively–will still be broadcasted on TV the usual way, that middle game is Amazon and Twitch only. It’s a bit confusing though, since viewers should also be able to catch the game via other NFL, Yahoo Sports, 49ers, and Cardinals platforms.
Though it sounds a bit funky, this definitely is not the first time the NFL has played around with giving different platforms streaming and broadcasting rights. Previous games have streamed on Twitter and Yahoo, sometimes exclusively. Additionally, the NFL previously announced a Wild Card playoff game in January will give streaming rights to NBCUniversal’s streaming platform Peacock, with NBCU’s Telemundo gaining control of the broadcasting rights.
Amazon has already been a streaming partner of the NFL for Thursday Night Football, with a multi-year contract allowing it to stream games concurrently with Fox’s linear television broadcasts. According to , initial data has shown that these football streams have not done huge numbers, but since many viewers are cutting the cord and moving towards streaming this seems to be a future-proofing move on the NFL’s part.
There are multiple major rights deals with league broadcast partners coming up for renewal in 2022 and the landscape for traditional broadcasters that use linear ratings is changing rapidly with the rise of giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon in the industry. Despite the strides these companies have been taking in the world of sports streaming and broadcasting, most analysts expect that current rights holders will retain those rights, though their valuations will probably increase.