Amazon’s new NFL deal could be a chance to bring television advertising to the digital age. That is, if the company even wants to.
This week, Amazon announced a one-year, $50 million deal to stream 10 Thursday night NFL games this coming season, taking over from Twitter, which previously held the streaming rights. The arrangement means Amazon is also entitled to sell two minutes per hour of advertising during the games—ad space normally sold by local TV stations carrying the broadcast.
Amazon indicated that it will use some of that time to promote its original series, which have gained steam in recent years with hit shows like “Sneaky Pete” and “Man in the High Castle.”
But there may be a bigger opportunity for the online retailer, which hasn’t said much else about the advertising angle of the deal.
Amazon has a history of quietly nudging into sectors of the advertising business before ramping up its ambitions. For example, after building out ad technology primarily for its own use, the e-commerce giant has in recent years become a significant player in the programmatic display advertising business. Recently, Amazon also has entered the lucrative search business while building out a suite of ad technology products designed to help web publishers make more money.