Final Fox Thursday night game generates total audience of 18.0 million; what will Amazon do?

NFL: SEP 13 Ravens at Bengals
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On Thursday night, Fox aired its final Thursday night game. And the NFL may have enjoyed a massive Thursday night audience for the last time, in a while.

According to the NFL, the Week 15 Chiefs-Chargers game generated an average audience of 18.0 million across all platforms, including Fox, NFL Network, Fox Deportes, Fox Sports digital, Fox Deportes, Amazon Prime Video, Twice, and Yahoo Sports mobile properties.

Next year, the primary delivery device for Thursday Night Football becomes Amazon Prime Video. No Fox. No NFL Network.

The question becomes whether Amazon Prime will attract an audience similar to the one that Fox generates. The safe bet, at least at first, is that it won’t. When it comes to NFL games, broadcast networks continue to attract a live audience like no other. Millions still rely on the free, over-the-air signals that are captured by modern-day rabbit-ear antennas. Although millions now have Amazon Prime, how many who would watch a game on Fox (or, before that, NBC and CBS) don’t and won’t pay the annual fee to see live NFL games on Thursday night?

Amazon will pay a premium for the ability to force Americans to change their habits. That’s really the goal. Although the games will be televised via free affiliates in local markets, most fans will see TNF only with Prime. How many who don’t already have Prime will get Prime in order to watch the games?

Basically, Amazon hopes to accelerate the transition from traditional TV to streaming. If any property can help pull that off, it’s the NFL.

It may take some time. And it could be a challenge. As the audience continues to fracture, it will become harder to pull it together simultaneously for a live TV event. But if anything can do it, it’s the NFL.

That’s what Amazon is paying for. And with the clock ticking on the traditional TV model, that’s why the NFL is willing to take a short-term hit in the number of people who consume live games. If the NFL can take the streaming phenomenon to and beyond critical mass, the NFL will prove its value as the world continues to pivot from cable and satellite to streaming.

50 responses to “Final Fox Thursday night game generates total audience of 18.0 million; what will Amazon do?

  1. Does anyone not have Amazon Prime these days? Thumbs up or thumb down if you do or don’t. Just curious.

  2. Or, the most likely scenario-

    Ratings on Amazon will bomb.
    The NFL will freak out.

    I also see I am still being charged for the NFL network. No live games, well there is a few bucks a month extra for me !

  3. I am considering dropping Amazon Prime, not because of the NFL, but because of the Amazon.

  4. If I have to go through all the extra steps of watching on a streaming service I won’t watch. I just want to sit and flip on the tv and watch football. If I can’t do that I most likely won’t watch.

  5. Don’t have Amazon prime now and have zero interest in getting it. I try NOT to buy from them. I probably order from them 2-3 times a year.

  6. I don’t see this as an issue. If Amazon has over 200k Prime users, is it really a stretch to match current share?

  7. Someone needs to put together a package that either allows you to buy a live stream of individual specific Sunday games or a season long package to a single team. Many of us don’t live in the city of our favorite team, but still want to see all their games. Right now it’s not too difficult to find a pirate stream — why don’t they put together some simple affordable options?

  8. The flip side of that is younger viewers who have Amazon Prime and don’t regularly watch football that might catch a random game on Thursday night. I’ve done the same thing with soccer matches on Hulu and F1 on Fox. I’m not seeking it out but if it’s available I’ll watch it from time to time.
    I do think they’re will be a slight drop off but the upside of the exclusivity may drive more viewers towards the platform eventually

  9. “Basically, Amazon hopes to accelerate the transition from traditional TV to streaming. If any property can help pull that off, it’s the NFL.”

    I agree, the question is why the NFL would want to. The broadcast networks need the NFL to survive. They are bidding massive amounts in order to keep their NFL rights. Sure the streaming companies would love to have those rights as well, but they don’t need them to survive.

  10. The “traditional TV model” won’t run out if people don’t cave an pay for all these streaming services. People used to complain about the “high cost of cable” but now with every media content producer having their own pay service having all the subscriptions will cost a lot more than the over priced cable. I “pay for streaming” because I get my tv from youtube tv, which is just like cable but over the web. I don’t have Amazon Prime an won’t get it. Sorry Jeff go blank yourself.

  11. No. I will never pay for a streaming service just to watch an NFL game on TV. Never. Ever.

    I can live without the NFL, if that’s the only way to see a game. I’ll catch the highlights somewhere else, if I care enough about the game.

    There are too many streaming services to get them all. The ones with sports are too expensive considering how often I watch them.

  12. Two more thoughts…how well will this work in bars and restaurants? Also, not everyone is going to be like oh let me go on Amazon prime! Very easy to scroll through channels or live TV apps and be like, oh! There’s a game on! I think the casual fan will forget about Thursday nights for the most part.

  13. Will Amazon’s Thursday night takeover allow Jeff Bezos to finally seize control of the “Football Team”? Washington Shippers!

  14. Well I for one hate this change. I have a 4k tv with gigabit internet connection and the picture quality sucked for Thursday nights game. I turned it on to check the quality and quickly went back to channel 105 4k direct TV. It’s going to suck.

  15. I think you got this a bit backwards. Amazon is providing Prime subscribers with “free entertainment”, in order to get you to subscribe. Once you are a prime subscriber the odds of you increasing your online shopping at Amazon increases – and that’s what Amazon is paying for; a larger share of your wallet.

  16. While I agree that a much smaller pool of people nation-wide have Amazon Prime, the “millions of people who rely on rabbit ear” has to be a significant minority vs those that have access to cable tv via traditional cable, satellite, streaming services, etc.

  17. As someone who generally watches almost every primetime NFL game (in addition to my home team on Sundays), I’m sad to say that I won’t be adding Amazon Prime to my streaming services. I think it’s a bad look for the NFL to only have TNF available on one platform and IMO defeats the entire purpose of marketing these games as “primetime” when lots of folks won’t have access to watch them.

  18. Kind of a pain in the butt to have to fool around with my Roku device to get to watch the games, but we probably will. Like watching on “traditional” networks better though….

  19. It doesn’t matter.

    This isn’t about the ratings, it’s about the data their collecting.

    If AWS/Amazon is sharing that with the NFL for the Thursday package it will help in all kinds of ways. More understanding of when people watch games, what things people purchase while watching games, which type of broadcast feeds they like, and that’s just to scratch the surface.

    The NFL wants more revenue they need to get in the game with what big tech is doing. The cable subs are going down the streaming subs are going up. The NFL needs to make a cross play with their traditional partners. Amazon/AWS had the best platform to do so, largest e-commerce platform, largest cloud partner, 2nd largest streaming platform.

  20. What frosts me is paying for a streaming service and *also* having commercials. Ditch the double dipping and people would flock to it.

  21. I have Prime. But its more about the actual broadcast for me. If I can’t watch it on my existing TV and have to buy a new one to do it, I won’t be watching.

  22. If you keep believing that the NFL has that kind of ratings then you’re not smart. Of course they’re going to tell you how great things are….. do you expect them to tell you it’s not? Just keep your eyes open EVERY season at least twice you’ll see “The most watched game ever.” Will appear… ask yourself how’s that even possible? There’s only so many people watching .. they don’t suddenly find another 8 million people every year.. they are lying about their ratings. Advertisers do NOT want to lose money and they will if the real ratings were ever released.

  23. I already watch games on a slight delay. I’ll start the game 30-40 mins late so I don’t have to watch commercials. Amazon streaming takes that away from me. So no wont be watching.

  24. I would imagine it will be available free on the nfl app as the current games are so theres that.

  25. Most women and a lot of men have prime, thats just how we live now, Thursday night football will be fine

  26. No offense to the guy with the gig connection but if you can’t stream 4k clearly your internet sucks and your overpaying. I have 400 Meg down copper, live in the boonies, and it looks just fine on 4k stream for NFL games.

  27. I subscribed to the NFL Network to watch Thursday games and I enjoyed them because I love football . I also subscribe to Direct TV’ to watch all of the games on Sunday. I live in a rural area and my wi-fi is shaky to non-existent, so I hate that any football games will be streaming only. There are problems with buffering, bad weather and outages with wi-fi and streaming, I want to watch a game in a simple manner and format , which for me, means a hard-wired local or cable broadcast. The NFL should have considered all of its customers’ needs and offered Amazon as just another option instead of the only option. I already pay for Direct TV and Netflix, so likely won’t subscribe to Amazon unless they offer NFL only at a reduced rate of like $5 per month.

  28. I have been watching college and pro football just by turning on the TV. I have always maintained that, if it were ever pay per view or any kind of charge to watch it I’m done. Thus ends TNF for me. I love football, but not that much. RIP TNF.

  29. I like seeing the game in 4K in Amazon, but I prefer being able to watch the Fox broadcast with a DVR with slight delay and skipping commercials or pause to go to bathroom.
    Amazon will write the NFL a bigger check, so that is that. I am lot less likely to watch Thursday games.

  30. Amazon will likely speak to the quality of games in that contract. They do not want to air Jaguars-Titans or the like every Thursday. I would imagine they would want to include something like: two chiefs games, two patriots games, a 49ers game, a cowboys game and a marquee game of their choice. Whatever.. the point is is that the quality of the Thursday night games will increase.

  31. FORCE people to do stuff they don’t want to do, sounds familiar. Regardless, TV is broken currently. It’s so fragmented with a gazillion different streaming services trying to become the almighty and every one of them falling short in some way. Sure, you ‘cut the cord’ and you ended up with expensive high speed only internet and have to have 10 different streaming services/channels to watch the things you want and, in the end, costs you more than cable did. It’s a mess. Add to it all the people that don’t have high speed

    Honestly I’d still have cable if it wasn’t for their stoopid data caps in my area and didn’t soak me a monthly fee for a rental box on EVERY TV I want to watch the service I paid for on. And those fees are forever. Live in a house for 10 years and you’ve got $1200 tied up in some TV box in your spare bedroom alone.

  32. Bosch, The Expanse, Wheel of Time, The Boys etc… All great shows on Amazon Prime. Lord of the Rings show is coming to Amazon in 2022. These shows alone imo justify my subscription.

    Football is an add on and I think they have a shot at the Sunday Ticket too although Disney may get it. People will come over from cable after more networks decide to leave cable to join a streaming platform. It’s already happening and isn’t going to stop.

  33. I enjoy watching the games but I won’t be signing up to a pay-service to do it. ESPN and the NHL did the same type of thing with Wednesday Night Hockey. They put it on ESP+ which requires a subscription. Thanks, but no thanks.

  34. For my situation, this SUCKS! I now will no longer be able to view Thursday Night Football – and money isn’t the issue……
    I live in a very rural area, satellite internet, that is better than nothing, but forget about streaming ANYTHING. LIke a previous poster, I pay through the nose for DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket, and and also get NFL network.

    This REALLY gets me mad, as someone who has supported the NFL for my entire (long!) life, I’m now left out in the cold.

  35. What if we can’t watch the game at all? Can’t DVR the game now. Prime will let you watch it whenever? Will NFL network have rights to rebroadcast the game? And, as someone said, we’ll be forced to watch commercials because probably can’t fast forward whenever we watch the stupid game. Yup, TV ratings will drop.

  36. If you could watch it anytime after the broadcast, it would be great. If it’s only live, it’s going to be terrible. In general I like to record the game & start a little late so I can skip some commercials. I also like to rewind some plays to look at something about them again. Obviously Amazon has the technology to do it, but nothing I have seen makes this sound likely.

  37. Feels like a move that waves a prescient flag of eventually moving all NFL games to streaming. Much like what has happened with college bowl games. Always someone who wants the whole pie instead of just one piece.

  38. I don’t know what Amazon Prime or what’s on it. I also wouldn’t have a clue how to subscribe to it. I would never subscribe to it to begin with. I am not willing to spend money just to watch Thursday night football.

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