On Monday, the NFL announced that Amazon’s exclusive deal for Thursday Night Football would begin in 2022, rather than 2023. This means that the 2021 season will be TNF’s swan song on Fox and NFL Network.
Additionally, the Sports Business Journal reports that NFL Network’s package of games will be pared down to seven, with games airing in non-Thursday windows (which had been rumored since Amazon nabbed the TNF package). Amazon is also paying $1.2 billion per year for the TNF rights, far less than the NFL’s other TV partners, but still a quite significant (duh and/or hello) sum.
This is just the latest step in TNF’s long and winding path since its creation a decade and a half ago, with the NFL’s focus shifting from carriage for NFL Network to yet another billion dollar rights deal, this time with a streaming company.
TNF existing for two more seasons with a pair of lame duck TV partners would have been a weird outcome, so cutting that timeframe in half and letting Amazon take over a year early makes all the sense in the world for all parties.