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Tech giants line up for Thursday Night Football digital rights – report

Technology giants Apple, Amazon and Google, along with telecommunications firm Verizon, are in contention for the digital rights to the NFL American football league’s Thursday Night Football games, according to Variety.

The US newspaper, citing multiple industry sources, said the four companies are expected to put in bids for the property. Verizon would reportedly seek to exploit the rights via its new mobile video streaming service Go90.

The NFL this week struck new two-season deals for its Thursday Night Football rights package, continuing its partnership with CBS while also adding rival US network NBC as a partner as it seeks a digital contract for what it says will be a “unique tri-cast” model.

The new broadcast deals will expand Thursday Night Football for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Both CBS and NBC will broadcast five games, growing the package to 10 broadcast games in 2016 and 2017 from eight in 2014 and 2015.

The NFL added that it is in “active discussions” with prospective digital partners for global OTT streaming rights to Thursday Night Football.

A deal announcement is expected in the near future and Variety said the Thursday Night Football digital rights could be sold to more than one distributor, with the league considering a variety of scenarios. These include potentially adding games played overseas during its International Series, according to one source familiar with the talks.