UPDATED with a plan for a wider access stream. Prime Video will make its next exclusive coverage of the first NFL game to be played on Black Friday free to all viewers, not just Prime members.
This groundbreaking move is unprecedented in the United States, although it has been attempted in international markets. A press release said it was a “first gift for NFL fans” at the start of the holiday shopping season. Family gatherings at Thanksgiving often boost television ratings for the NFL’s long-established three-game menu.
A 3 p.m. ET kickoff is scheduled for Friday, November 24, the day after Thanksgiving. This marks the first time an NFL game will be played on the day, although games occasionally fall on a Friday due to the Christmas and New Years schedule. Prime Video has begun its exclusive long-term broadcast of the NFL last year, averaging 11.3 million weekly viewers. Although that’s down from the 16.2 million average the previous year, when the games aired on Fox, it boosted viewing among 18-34 year olds, a demo coveted by advertisers, and none of the widely predicted technological breakdowns materialized. NFL games, as well as the debut of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power last year, were cited by senior Amazon executives as the main drivers of Prime and Prime Video subscriptions during the third quarter of last year.
Just weeks after the landmark debut of Thursday night football as a streaming-only franchise on Prime Video, Amazon and the NFL have announced plans for an annual game the day after Thanksgiving, aka Black Friday.
The first competition will take place in 2023 and the company is open. Amazon has acquired the rights to TNF for $1 billion per season through 2032. In a press call to discuss their plans, Amazon and the NFL described Friday Games as a separate business.
Black Friday, for decades, a bargain-hunting period for holiday shopping has never before been established as a regular home for NFL games, with the assumption that appetites are sated by the menu. of three games played each Thanksgiving Day. By targeting the day after the holiday — whose retail spending activity aligns with Amazon’s broader business mission — the partners hope to create, indeed, a new tradition.
The first game will take place on Friday, November 24, 2023 with a scheduled kickoff at 3 p.m. ET. Participating teams will be announced when the 2023 calendar is published.
“Thanksgiving is all about football, and we’re thrilled to bring our fans another day of NFL action this holiday weekend,” said Hans Schroeder, chief operating officer of NFL Media. “Amazon is uniquely positioned to partner with us on this game as Black Friday is one of the most important days of the year for their business.”
The decision to go ahead with the annual Friday game was made due to the early success of the Thursday games, which avoided any large-scale technological problems and attracted a significantly younger audience than the linear broadcasts of the NFL.
“Thursday night football has already been a huge success on Prime Video, attracting millions of viewers each week, and we are thrilled to expand our relationship with the NFL,” said Jay Marine, Global Head of Sports at Prime Video. “Black Friday is the unofficial start of the holiday season, and we’re excited to kick it off with a treat for football fans across the country with this new game.”
In the first five games of the season, Thursday night football is averaging 10.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen, and is up +48% from the top five TNF games in 2021 among 18-34 year olds, and +25% among 18-49 year olds.