Amazon’s hopes for NFL dominance are high after record-breaking viewership for last week’s 2023 season debut of “Thursday Night Football” on Prime Video.
Thursday’s streaming broadcast of the New York Giants at the San Francisco 49ers will look to retain the 15 million viewers who watched Philadelphia Eagles’ 34-28 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 — officially the most-streamed NFL game ever.
The task won’t be easy. The first “TNF” game of 2022 — a Kansas City Chiefs win against the Los Angeles Chargers — drew a season-high 13 million viewers before audience numbers began dropping in later weeks. Amazon finished with an average of 9.6 million viewers per game.
Staying above the 10 million average viewership mark this season would be a win for Amazon, which is paying $1 billion a year for the NFL deal and wants to add more live sports to its streaming offerings.
The tech giant had been hoping audience measurement company Nielsen would incorporate its first-party streaming data this year — but Nielsen ultimately opted against doing so. With that data, Amazon says Eagles-Vikings drew 16.6 million viewers.
Will Amazon Flex Its Muscles?
In its second year of exclusive NFL rights, Amazon has gained new scheduling flexibility previously unavailable for Thursday night games.
This season, the NFL can opt to switch up a “TNF” matchup between Weeks 13-17 with a four-week notice. That could be put to use this year in the wake of New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending injury.
The Jets are scheduled to visit the Cleveland Browns for the final Thursday night game of the season in Week 17. Games in the 1 p.m. ET window that week that could have stronger playoff implications include New England-Buffalo, New Orleans-Tampa Bay, and Miami-Baltimore.