There’s a whole lot more to Amazon Prime and how to watch Thursday Night Football.
Amazon Prime is the new home for Thursday Night Football. It’s the first time in the history of the NFL that a streaming service will be the sole provider for national games. The first game on Amazon Prime is a preseason matchup, then starting in Week 2, Amazon will air 15 Thursday Night Football games.
Amazon Prime holds the exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football games through 2033 and is paying over $1 billion per season.
Not since Fox Sports swooped in to snag the NFC television package in the early 1990s has the NFL television landscape been so altered. While many leagues have dipped their toes into exclusive streaming – most notably MLB Friday night Apple TV+ and Sunday Morning Peacock games that have been met with mixed results from fans – this is a major shift for the NFL which has built its decades of success by owning broadcast television.
Amazon Thursday Night Football
Amazon sees itself as a natural fit for the games. Never before has a sports broadcaster been able to provide so much detailed customer information to advertisers. Amazon recently convinced NFL owners to add a Black Friday game on Prime beginning in 2023. That means the world’s largest online marketplace will be hosting an NFL telecast on their platform on the busiest shopping day of the year. This is just the latest step in the evolution of integrated viewing experience. (Also, what are the odds DraftKings Marketplace is already plotting an NFT drop for that day? How about the discounts and cross-sell at the Fanatics Sportsbook? The mind boggles.)
Amazon has committed billions in rights fees and millions more in marketing. However, they have not wrapped tractor trailers with an oversized Patrick Mahomes or Justin Herbert with the tagline “There is more to Prime…now home to Thursday Night Football. Yet.
Amazon also has not been shy about spending money to create a high quality broadcast. Fred Gaudelli, who has produced Sunday Night Football for NBC since 2006 (and before that MNF on ABC), will be at the helm of TNF bringing instant credibility and professionalism. Gaudelli will be with his longtime anchor in the booth. Arguably one of the greatest announcers in history in Al Michaels moves over from NBC as well and will be joined in the booth by Kirk Herbstreit whose name is synonymous with College Football as a ESPN Gameday analyst and lead color commentator, a job he will still be holding down on Saturdays. Fox Sports’ Charissa Thompson will host the pregame show with a cast of dozens including Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, Richard Sherman and Ryan Fitzpatrick. An alternate broadcast featuring Dude Perfect has also been announced.
What does Thursday Night Football on Amazon mean for sports betting?
If you don’t have Prime Video at home/on your phone, or you want to go watch the game at your favorite bar or restaurant, you (likely) won’t be shut out. Amazon Prime Video signed a deal with DirectTV to air Thursday Night Football in over 300,000 bars and restaurants. The deal also includes the right to air the game at casinos and sportsbooks.
Over $57 billion was bet on sports in the U.S. in 2021. Andrew Marchand, New York Post sports media columnist and co-host of Marchand & Ourand Sports Media Podcast, shared some insight with PlayPennsylvania on how Amazon will look to capture gambling operators’ dollars:
“Amazon will have advertising around their games and I’d be very surprised if gambling money is not a component. I think initially they may have some probabilities on screen that fans will be able to see or opt in to see. As the years go on, I would think they could have pure gambling feeds as the space evolves, but I don’t think they will initially.”
Streaming services and live betting
But even if you have a strong internet connection and you are settled in to get your NFL betting weekend off to a strong start, in-game live bets may be difficult to manage. The lag time in a live stream compared to traditional television is significant, running a half a minute or more over real time. That means the extra point could be over before a fan is done watching the review of a touchdown.
Streaming viewership passed cable TV for the first time. However, in a Twitter thread, Mike Raffensberger, Chief Commercial Officer at FanDuel, said that presents various issues for sports betting.
“Live betting already makes up around 50% of sports betting in the US and this number will likely grow. As more people watch live sports via streaming, it’s critical for the industry to solve the streaming lag issue,” said Raffensberger.
3/ Live betting already makes up around 50% of sports betting in the US and this number will likely grow. As more people watch live sports via streaming, it’s critical for the industry to solve the streaming lag issue.
— Mike Raffensperger (@mraffensperger) August 19, 2022
So, what’s the solution? This tweet was before “House of Dragons” crashed HBO Max. Will Amazon Prime crash due to TNF? Or will viewers be able to log in for a few minutes then be hit with the dreaded spinning wheel?
“Nobody has really presented a viable solution here, but the companies that figure it out first are going to be among the winners as this trend plays out,” Raffensberger wrote in a tweet about lag.
Prop betting and TNF technology
Player prop betting is more popular than ever and sports betting apps are continuing to add to their player prop offerings.
Jay Croucher, head of trading for PointsBet, told ESPN that player props are the “future.”
For FanDuel Sportsbook, the “future” has already arrived, especially for the younger demographic.
According to recent data by FanDuel, here’s how customers ages 21-34 created their parlays and same game parlays:
- Anytime Touchdown Scorer
- Alternate Receiving Yards
- Receiving Yards
- Rushing Yards
- Alternative Passing Yards
Where the streaming service might “lag” it should make up for with technology. New technology Amazon is rolling out for Thursday Night Football includes:
- Ability to see real-time statistics on screen using its X-Ray technology
- Addition to standard stats such as yards and touchdowns, they will include so-called next-generation figures, such as average time to throw for quarterbacks and yards after contact for running backs and receivers.
- Players will wear uniforms enhanced with Amazon Web Services chips, allowing for instant updates.
- Amazon will also have a customer package of highlights via X-Ray that update through the game for viewers who missed the early action and want to catch up.
- For Fire TV users, viewers will be able to speak commands such as “show me stats” or “play the last touchdown” into the remote control.
- Amazon plans to add other alternative feeds over time. Could a “betcast” be coming?
Thursday Night Football ratings
For the first time, Nielsen Media Research will measure the audience of a live streaming program as part of a three-year deal with Amazon for TNF.
Nielsen will also measure activity around the shows on Amazon’s Twitch as well as activity on local TV stations in the teams’ home markets. So-called “out of home” viewership — people who watch content in bars, offices, hotels and the like, will also be measured.
“I think the interactive aspect of Twitch fits into where alternative sports viewing trends are going so it feels like an ideal tie-up for the NFL and Amazon to use that service,” said Marchand.
How to watch Eagles vs. Texans on Amazon Prime
Thursday Night Football games are exclusive to Prime Video. However, the broadcast will be made available to an over-the-air TV station in the teams’ home market.
The Philadelphia Eagles will visit the Houston Texans on November 3 for a Thursday Night Football Week 9 matchup. Check your local listings to find the Eagles at Texans.
How to watch Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime
Amazon is going to make it really easy. Live games will start to play automatically when you log into Amazon.com. TNF games will also be on Prime Video’s home screen and alert subscribers when they are on in real time.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Houston Texans Week 9 odds
Lead image Ashley Landis/AP