The NFL announced Monday that Amazon Prime Video is now set to take over as Thursday Night Football‘s exclusive home at the start of the 2022 season. When the NFL and Amazon agreed to a deal last month, Amazon was expected to begin exclusive distribution during the 2023 season. The press release did not state the reason for the change.
The update means Thursday Night Football will depart FOX after the upcoming 2021 season. In other words, those of you who don’t know how to get Amazon Prime on your big TV have one year to learn.
Amazon’s deal with the NFL is the most interesting story in sports media. Long-term, it’s smart. Short-term, expect hiccups and angry viewers.
Younger viewers find streaming easier than finding a TV channel. The older viewers find streaming inconvenient, if they even know what it is.
The NFL’s other broadcast partners — FOX, ABC/ESPN, CBS, and NBC — are background channels. Households already have them on before a game appears. To stream a show or game, viewers have to go out of their way to find it. It’s a process, a word that also describes TNF‘s transition from TV to digital.
All in all, by years two and three, I predict the NFL will be satisfied with Prime Video. Amazon has the resources and technology to make TNF a one-of-a-kind viewing experience.
Viewers better get used to the feel of streaming a game, by the way. This is just the start.