Thursday’s NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers is the beginning of a new era for the NFL.
The AFC West matchup will stream live on Amazon Prime, rather than appear on a regular television station.
The game “kicks off an 11-year agreement between Amazon and the NFL and marks the first time the league has sold a package of games to a streaming service,” The Associated Press reported.
Why are Thursday night games on Amazon Prime?
Amazon won the rights to Thursday night NFL games in March 2021, The Associated Press reported, after agreeing to pay the NFL around $1 billion per year.
“The $1.2 billion per year the NFL is getting from Amazon for 15 Thursday night games is 80% more than it was receiving from Fox, which carried most of the Thursday night matchups for four seasons,” the article noted.
The Amazon-NFL partnership marks the “first time a streaming service with carry a full package of games exclusively,” according to CNBC.
Are Thursday games available anywhere other than Amazon Prime?
As CNBC reported, Amazon has exclusive rights to Thursday night games, which means the matchups won’t be simultaneously broadcast on a traditional television network.
However, the games will still be shown on local stations in the cities where competing teams are based, meaning that the Chiefs-Chargers game will be available on TV in Kansas City and Los Angeles.
The games will also be available in a select number of “bars, restaurants and hotels ... through a deal with DirecTV,” The Associated Press reported.
Will the NFL’s Amazon Prime deal cut into viewership?
The NFL’s move to streaming on Thursday nights will likely lead to lower viewership numbers, at least at first, according to multiple news reports.
“A person familiar with Prime Video’s thinking said the platform expects a transition period as viewers migrate from traditional TV to the service for the games,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
The NFL’s past forays into streaming definitely caused confusion, according to The Associated Press.
“The main complaint after Prime Video aired a Saturday afternoon game between the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals in 2020 was that hardly anyone knew how to access it,” The Associated Press reported.
The Wall Street Journal noted that Amazon is projecting around 12.6 million viewers per game for the 2022 season. Week 1’s Thursday night contest, by comparison, had 21.3 million viewers, according to NFL Media. (That game, which was between the Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills, was broadcast on NBC.)
How to watch NFL games on Amazon Prime
Prime Video sent subscribers a guide to watching NFL games earlier this week. It said that, after logging in, Prime users should see a Thursday Night Football option on the Prime Video home page.
If the game isn’t visible on the homepage, Prime users can check the Sports page or search for Thursday Night Football using the search bar, the guide said.