On December 26th, the Arizona Cardinals / San Francisco 49ers game will skip national television networks entirely and head to Prime Video, Twitch, and two local affiliates as part of Amazon’s recently expanded deal with the NFL. With the deal, Amazon locked in streaming rights for Thursday Night Football through 2022, but this Saturday game is a weekend “exclusive,” one of which the company is guaranteed to host each season.
While calling the game an “exclusive” would suggest that Amazon’s platforms are the only way to watch, the game will also be available to stream on mobile through the NFL, 49ers, Cardinals, and Yahoo Sports mobile properties, according to Amazon’s press release announcing the game. Amazon says viewers using its platforms will be able to modify their streams beyond what they’d usually see on traditional television, using the service’s X-Ray feature for on-demand replays on Prime Video and overlays and live chat on Twitch.
Amazon originally purchased rights to NFL games back in 2017 and even reportedly considered purchasing entire Fox sports channels in 2018, but for now, these carriage deals are a comfortable middle ground that seems to have boosted NFL viewership in the process.
What Amazon and the NFL can’t account for is the pandemic’s effect on the football season. Entire games have been postponed because of players with positive COVID-19 tests, and recently, a Denver Broncos game had to move forward with an entirely different quarterback due to COVID-19 exposure.
The 49ers and Cardinals game will be available to stream on Amazon’s various platforms at 4:30PM ET / 1:30PM PT on December 26th, or if you’re a local fan, on NBC Affiliate KNTV in San Francisco and Fox affiliate KSAZ in Phoenix.