Amazon's first streamed NFL game surpassed Twitter's viewership last year
- The numbers are in for Amazon's first live stream of NFL Thursday Night Football, and its 372,000 viewers topped Twitter's average of 266,000 during last season's games, according to The Drum. However, that number was still well below TV's viewership of 14.6 million.
- Last week's game between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears also reeled in more viewers than Twitter's first game stream last year between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, which had 243,000 viewers.
- One difference between Twitter's live stream last year and Amazon’s holding the rights for this season is that Twitter’s broadcast was available to its entire user base while Amazon’s is limited to Prime Video subscribers, which number around 85 million globally. Among the audio feeds Amazon made available during the game was an "English UK" option with British commentators explaining some of the more basic rules and on-field events for viewers not well-versed in American football, per the New York Daily News.
Amazon won the rights to the digital live stream for 10 NFL Thursday Night Football games this season over Twitter, Facebook and YouTube with a $50 million bid, though it was later reported that the full bid was closer to $80 million as Amazon threw in $30 million of free marketing and promotions for the NFL. In return for the streaming rights, Amazon has 10 30-second spots to sell during each game, with ad packages for the games reportedly being peddled for $2.8 million ahead of the season.
Professional sports has been seen as one of the last bastions of live TV destination viewing, and the numbers for Amazon’s first stream illustrate that TV remains consumers' primary viewing option by a large margin. However, professional leagues like the NFL understand that unless they begin to branch out into streaming and mobile options, they run the risk of losing a great deal of potential viewers, as a wave of consumers are cutting the cord on cable TV as digital alternatives like Amazon and Netflix become increasingly top-of-mind.
Having long moved past its e-commerce label with a slew of hardware and service offerings, Amazon continues to grow its inventory of entertainment options in the over-the-top space and also its considerable ads business in its latest NFL deal. The competition between big-name digital platforms for the NFL streaming rights — which included Twitter, Facebook and YouTube — points to how fans of major sports leagues are coveted by broadcasters and advertisers because they're generally considered loyal viewers. Amazon is likely betting it can attract new users into its Prime service by offering the NFL games exclusively on the streaming platform.