NFL enhances game coverage with Intel partnership, confirms Amazon deal

American football league the NFL has entered into a wide-ranging partnership with technology giant Intel, while it has officially confirmed its Thursday Night Football agreement with e-commerce and media company Amazon.

Under the Intel deal, the company’s freeD technology will be deployed in select NFL stadiums across the league, adding to existing deployments in stadiums in Baltimore, Houston and San Francisco.

Intel freeD technology will create immersive experiences for NFL fans, enabling views of the greatest plays from every angle. The technology was showcased during the game broadcast of New England Patriots’ 34-28 win against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, which took place in Houston on February 5.

One feature of Intel’s freeD technology is 360 degree replay technology, which creates unique perspectives of game action through ‘virtual’ cameras.

The league said highlights from Intel freeD-equipped stadiums will be available to fans on, NFL Mobile and the NFL YouTube channel. Additionally, the NFL and Intel will work with clubs and game broadcast partners to expand the use of Intel freeD technology.

Vishal Shah, senior vice-president of digital media for the NFL, said: “Fans will be able to experience compelling new vantage points of game action, both at home and in the stadium. We look forward to seeing what we can build together with Intel freeD technology, and driving innovative sports experiences for our fans.”

The NFL’s TNF partnership with Amazon was widely reported by US media outlets on Tuesday evening, but was confirmed by the league yesterday (Wednesday). The Amazon Prime service will be the NFL’s exclusive partner to deliver a live OTT digital stream of Thursday Night Football to a global audience across devices during the 2017 season.

Amazon Prime Video will stream the 10 Thursday Night Football games broadcast by NBC and CBS, which will also be simulcast on NFL Network, once again securing the league's tri-cast model of broadcast (NBC/CBS), cable (NFL Network), and digital (Amazon Prime Video) distribution.

The Thursday Night Football games will be made available to Amazon Prime members worldwide, on the Amazon Prime Video app for televisions, game consoles, set top boxes and connected devices, which includes Amazon Fire TV, mobile devices and online. The TNF games will also be available to Prime Video members internationally in over 200 countries and territories.

Jeff Blackburn, senior vice-president of business development and entertainment at Amazon, said: “Our focus is on bringing customers the best premium video programming, when and how they want to watch it. Streaming Thursday Night Football on Prime Video is a great step for us toward that vision, and offers tremendous new value for Prime members around the world.”

This agreement bolsters a partnership between the NFL and Amazon around All or Nothing, the Emmy-nominated Amazon Original Series produced by NFL Films that is entering its second season.

Amazon will reportedly pay $50m (€46.8m) for the TNF deal, replacing social media platform Twitter as the NFL’s live streaming partner.