Amazon sees 22% jump in 'Thursday Night Football' viewership, MediaPost reports
- For its streaming of seven "Thursday Night Football" games this season, Amazon has seen a total combined viewership of 14.7 million, a 22% increase over last year, MediaPost reported. The average minute audience is up 36% to 455,000, the publication found.
- Amazon is differentiating its streaming of NFL games from the Fox TV broadcasts that it simulcasts on its Prime and Twitch platforms. On Prime, users can choose alternate audio commentary, including from the NFL's first female duo of Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm. On Twitch, the broadcasts include live commentary from video game streamers and other interactive features.
- Before the start of the current season, Amazon signed an extension with the NFL to keep the streaming rights for "Thursday Night Football" through the 2019 season.
While Amazon's NFL viewership isn't on par with TV broadcasts — the games that aired on Fox averaged 11 million to 15 million viewers each, per MediaPost — the increase underscores a shift in how consumers are accessing sports content. The double-digit year-on-year increase could signal some new opportunities for marketers seeking to reach sports fans outside traditional TV ad buys. Video ad spending is expected to grow from $91 billion in 2018 to $103 billion by 2023, according to Forrester.
The partnership with the NFL is also helping Amazon strengthen its Twitch platform and grow its live streaming video offerings. Adding some extra features, like alternate audio and live commentary, could attract audiences looking for unique ways to engage with their favorite sports teams. Sports fans are growing to expect to be able to watch sports on their own terms, meaning on mobile platforms and on multiple screens. Sports fans also enjoy checking player stats and scores in real time and engaging with fellow fans.
This season, the NFL has broadly expanded access to games via digital platforms, a move that has been successful. Viewership on digital platforms jumped 65% compared to 2017 as of week four of the current season, with the average minute audience at 326,000 viewers per game window across platforms, according to the league. All primetime games and Sunday afternoon local games can be viewed on mobile devices via the NFL app or Verizon media properties.
The NFL has also renegotiated its exclusive mobile deal with Verizon to allow customers of any mobile service to stream games, while giving Verizon's Oath media unit expanded streaming rights. The league's TV partners have secured additional streaming rights, including mobile streaming of games, according to MediaPost.