The National Football League is looking to sell rights to stream Thursday night games online. Big tech names Apple, Amazon, Google, and Verizon are expected to try and purchase the rights, according to a report from Variety.
Rumor of the streaming deals come after the NFL announced on Monday a two-year TV deal with CBS and NBC. Each network gained rights to stream five games. When it announced the TV deal, the league said it's in "active discussions with prospective digital partners" to stream some games. The league is reportedly considering several scenarios to sell the streaming rights. It may pick multiple companies for the deal and could also factor in overseas games to be streamed.
Yahoo was the first to stream an NFL game online in October 2015. Yahoo claimed the matchup, available for free, from London between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars garnered 15.2 million unique viewers. The game between the Bills and Jacksonville had an average viewership per minute of 2.36 million.
To compare, afternoon and evening NFL games on TV average 10 to 20 million viewers per minute. It's not clear how beneficial a streaming deal would be for the big tech giants.
It's worth noting CBS and NBC stream their games over the Internet to paid TV subscribers, though an Internet streaming deal could give the Internet generation -- and cord cutters -- a place to view the games.