Amazon is off to a strong start with its Prime Video stream of “Thursday Night Football.”
Nielsen data for the first game on Sept. 15 — a 27-24 win for the Kansas City Chiefs over the Los Angeles Chargers — averaged 13 million viewers.
The figure is up 47% over the comparable game in 2021, when 8.8 million viewers watched the New York Giants and Washington Commanders on the NFL Network.
Amazon’s own data, which include the alternative streams of the game on Prime Video, showed an average of 15.3 million viewers watched.
The premiere last week, with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit handling play-by-play, was above the 12.6 million viewers guaranteed to advertisers who bought time on games this season.
Amazon has an 11-year deal with the NFL, paying $1 billion annually for 15 Thursday night games. The deal is the first exclusive NFL package for a streaming service.
Streaming video is becoming the preferred platform of choice for younger viewers, and that was the case with “Thursday Night Football.” Nielsen data showed the median age for viewers of the game was 47, six years younger than the audience watching the NFL on traditional TV through the first two weeks of the season.
Prime Video benefited from having a close contest between two teams expected to contend for the AFC title and the Super Bowl. The second week will be a more challenging test as the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Cleveland Browns.
Prime Video’s results with “Thursday Night Football” are being closely watched by the TV industry. While the vast majority of major sporting events remain on traditional TV, tech companies are showing a willingness to spend big money to get in on the action.
Apple TV+ is considered the top contender for the NFL’s Sunday Ticket package, in which fans can pay to watch telecasts of out-of-market games. The rights are currently held by DirecTV.
Apple currently has the rights to Major League Baseball games on Friday nights for its Apple TV+ streaming service and could be in position to carry a history-making event this week when it presents the matchup between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.
Yankees star Aaron Judge is chasing the American League record for home runs in a single season. As of Tuesday, Judge has 60 homers, one behind the 61 hit by Roger Maris for the Yankees in 1961.