While Amazon was in its early stages about 15 years ago, the idea of streaming videos was relegated to largely low-quality glorified home movies on YouTube. Now in 2023, the same company is all in with its streaming service and making good money through its NFL coverage.
Sports was among the last fields to finally make the switch to online streaming. But over the last decade, the NFL slowly increased its streaming options.
NFL games began to be legally streamed more and more through various services over the last decade, until 2022. That's when the league took their first full plunge into the service.
Amazon got the rights to broadcast NFL matches and Thursday Night Football became the first NFL game series dependent entirely on one's internet connection.
Will viewership increase for Thursday Night Football in 2023?
Now, about five weeks after their final broadcast of the season, the mega-company reported a net sales figure of $514 billion, more than half of a trillion dollars. Their sales grew nine percent, according to Front Office Sports.
While their net sales grew at a big clip, their net income dropped from a $33.3 billion haul to a $2.7 billion loss.
The simplest explanation for this was the company continuing to invest in itself. On top of that, a company of this size has massive recurring costs in terms of labor, upkeep, and securing the land for its myriad locations.
There is also the task of spending money on their products, including Thursday Night Football and getting the rights to broadcast such an event.
How many fans watched Amazon's Thursday Night Football?
The program averaged 11.3 million viewers per game, based on Nielsen and Amazon metrics. The number was, surprisingly, comparable to that of viewers in previous years through conventional methods of broadcast, but fell short. 13.3 million viewers tuned in during the 2021 season.
However, instead of some viewers watching through antennas and others through various cable networks, each and every viewer had given Amazon money to stream the game.
Additionally, a larger segment of the younger population tuned in than in the past. 11 percent more people in the 18-34 age group tuned in to the streaming broadcast this year.
The rise in revenue could be credited to the decision not to cut costs on the broadcasting duo responsible for bringing the game to life. The network could have gotten a couple of lesser-known but cheaper commentators, but they got one of the best-known names in the business - Al Michaels.
They also got Kirk Herbstreit, who is one of the bigger names in the college football commentator space. Lastly, they got some truly impressive games that most would agree were definitely prime-time quality.
In Week 2, the program hosted Kansas City's showdown against the Los Angeles Chargers. They also got an almost always entertaining showdown between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. In Week 8, they got to show the world Tom Brady taking on the Baltimore Ravens.
In Week 13, Amazon's Thursday Night Football got Bill Belichick attempting to defeat the Buffalo Bills. Then, in Week 17, they wrapped up the year with a Cowboys game.
Of course, in addition, the various fan bases of other teams tuned in regularly to see their team play. Put simply, the schedule was as competitive as any prime time network had this season.
Therefore, Amazon drew in viewers early and kept them around. They finished the year with one of the most popular teams in the league, in order to get fans to remember the network the following season.